Despite losing to the Philadelphia 76ers in six games during the first round of the NBA playoffs, the Toronto Raptors had a successful season in 2021-22. The Raptors clinched the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, Scottie Barnes won Rookie of the Year, and Fred VanVleet is an All-Star this year.
Considering that this Raptors team entered the year with minimal expectations after their Tampa stint, ending up with 48 wins and a high seed in the playoffs set them up for success in the future. This team also managed to pull off some wins despite noteworthy flaws on the roster.
The majority of the team was made up of wing players who were 6-9 or below. The experiment that general manager Masai Ujiri created was a huge success, as that style of play got them to the playoffs this year. Still, they need to switch some things around if they want to contend.
Ujiri and the front office team need to address these three most significant areas of need in the offseason. Identifying the proper holes and coming up with a plan of attack to fix them could be the difference between advancing in April and another quick exit.
3 biggest holes on the Toronto Raptors roster.
3. Point Guard
Fred VanVleet is the undisputed point guard for this Raptors team, as the All-Star that he can lead the team by being the floor general they needed following Kyle Lowry’s exit. He is the facilitator for this team and one of the best scorers on this roster. Unfourntely, VanVleet was dealing with knee issues after the All-Star break.
Even though he only missed nine games in the second half of the season, the knee injury impacted his game. It also didn’t help that he injured his hip during his playoff tussle with Philadelphia.
Toronto was able to win two games in the first round without VanVleet, but they missed him in Game 6 because the Raptors were missing wide-open looks. If VanVleet gets hurt again and misses sufficient time, that will hurt their playoff chances.
The Toronto Raptors must support Fred VanVleet.
Backup point guard Malachi Flynn didn’t play a ton of minutes this season. An upgrade is needed in free agency after Flynn failed to take the next step. Facilitators and scorers like Tyus Jones or Austin Rivers could be a mentor to Flynn while providing more on-court production in the rotation.
Don’t get me wrong, VanVleet is great. The problem is that what happens if he misses sufficient time next season could derail their contention hopes. Flynn could be that replacement, but just in case, they should get a veteran point guard who can also shoot the ball.