Grading every Raptors rotation player after surprising start to 2021-22

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 11: Chris Boucher #25 and Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 11: Chris Boucher #25 and Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
TORONTO, ON – OCTOBER 25:Fred VanVleet #23 talks with Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have managed to come out the first 13 games of the 2021-22 NBA season with a winning record at 7-6. While the larger media landscape didn’t seem very bullish on a team led by OG Anunoby, rookie sensation Scottie Barnes, and Gary Trent Jr. being a threat, Toronto has uncorked some impressive games.

The Raptors have had some issues with their half-court offense and the reintegration of Pascal Siakam back into the lineup after a lengthy injury, but that hasn’t stopped them from winning games. Thoughts of a rebuilding year are starting to flake away with each passing game.

The Raptors have made no secret of their attempt to form a positionless, balanced lineup in which four or five players are carrying the load equally on both ends, and it’s helped them win some very tough road games against the Wizards, Knicks, and 76ers.

Let’s get our report cards out and figure out which Raptors players have earned exemplary marks so far this season and which ones need to step their game up. While a good chunk of the roster has gotten off to a very hot start, some players need to beef their production up.

Grading every Toronto Raptors player after their 2021-22 starts.

Fred VanVleet

VanVleet ended Thursday’s win against Philadelphia tied for the team lead in scoring, as he has done a masterful job stepping up without Kyle Lowry in the fold. Not only is he scoring, but he’s doing so while being a more efficient offensive player.

The perimeter defense that has helped make him one of the premier two-way guards in the league hasn’t ebbed away at all, as he is right near the top of the Association in deflections. While he went through a bit of an inconsistent stretch earlier in the year, it’s hard to find much fault in his play.

Grade: A-

Gary Trent Jr.

Trent’s offensive numbers appear to be almost identical to what he was doing last year for the Raptors, but he earns a high grade due to his astounding defensive turnaround. Trent was leading the league in steals per game for a while, and his play on that end could make him an All-Defensive contender.

Grade: A-

Gary Trent Jr. has taken a ton of strides for the Toronto Raptors.

Malachi Flynn

Flynn hasn’t seen much playing time this season, and it’s been hard to draw a ton of conclusions from the minutes he’s played. While he looks like the player we saw last year at times, the lack of minutes has been disheartening.

Grade: C+

Goran Dragic

What more can we say? The dude has sucked. The Raptors got better the second they stopped playing him.

Grade: F