The Toronto Raptors have thrust themself into the contention window with or without the addition of Kevin Durant. With a Rookie of the Year (Scottie Barnes), an All-Star point guard (Fred VanVleet), and an All-NBA forward (Pascal Siakam) at the helm, things are looking up.
The Raptors have long fancied themselves as a developmental proving ground where everything is earned and players are consistently in danger of losing prestige within the team if their solid play is not always sustained. An impactful 2022 season promises to be no exception.
While calling this year a “make or break” season for some of the more important role players is a bit too hyperbolic, there are a handful of Raptors players that need to prove that they can replicate whatever success they have brought to the team over the last few years.
If any of these three Raptors players have a substandard season, that could throw a somewhat significant wrench into Toronto’s plans for the next one or two seasons. This trio must come out guns blazing from the moment camp opens up.
3 Toronto Raptors with tons to lose/gain in 2022-23.
3. Precious Achiuwa
Acquired in the Kyle Lowry deal, Achiuwa was written off by a small segment of the fanbase after struggling with finishing at the rim. After his second-half surge buoyed by a sudden rise in his 3-point shooting ability, Achiuwa has established himself as a core rotation piece.
Achiuwa needs to show that his shooting was not just a half-season anomaly. With Christian Koloko on the squad and both Chris Boucher and Thad Young resigned, Achiuwa has plenty of competition for minutes in the frontcourt this season.
Precious Achiuwa must prove it to the Toronto Raptors.
Achiuwa will have some role on this team due to his defensive skills, but he might not be guaranteed as many minutes early in the season if his shooting starts to dissipate. Still in just his third season, Toronto isn’t too indebted to him from a financial point of view.
Achiuwa has a lot going for him, but his standing on the team isn’t exactly entrenched in stone. His improvement last year was impressive, but he could stand to undo that progress if his shot is off to begin the season or he shows minimal improvement as a scorer at the rim.