Fred VanVleet and the Toronto Raptors have officially shifted to offseason mode, as the 76ers ended their postseason run with a standout performance in Game 6. The Raptors made it as far as they could with this roster, but they simply ran out of steam in the closing minutes of Game 6.
While VanVleet and the Raptors were able to surprise plenty of doubters, their play in the postseason underscored the fact that this team needs to fill some holes if they want to contend for a title in the near future. The preparation for that will start in what has become an even more important offseason.
Even the most casual fans can see that the Raptors struggled with depth all season long in the frontcourt. The lack of shooting came back to bite them when VanVleet and Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes went down with injuries. VanVleet knows that this team has to make some improvements before they’re ready for primetime.
VanVleet said that adding a big man or some extra shooting would “obviously” be a huge boost for this team. Ujiri had to have seen the limitations of this roster. Listening to VanVleet might help Toronto get the aggressiveness they need to secure some of the best available players.
Fred VanVleet says the Toronto Raptors must improve.
While the Raptors will have Thad Young and Chris Boucher coming off of the books, Toronto will have enough cap space to bring in one more big name in the frontcourt. Khem Birch might need to be moved to open up a space on the depth chart alongside Precious Achiuwa.
Toronto has the No. 33 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, which could be used on a young guard that comes in and improves their prospect from beyond the 3-point line. When Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby did not have their best 3-point shots on any given night, Toronto couldn’t keep pace with better offensive teams.
VanVleet knows that he needs to take some steps forward if he wants to help bring the Raptors to the promised land. VanVleet hinted in this media session that the time for building the team up to respectability is done. The Raptors are ready to win and go deep into the postseason.
VanVleet is an amazing player, but he needs more shooters and more rim-runners that can take some of the pressure off when he is less than 100% healthy. Ujiri might need to let some players go, but it will be in the name of opening a contending window.