2. Starting backcourt
The Raptors might as well start every game with 35 points on the board between Trent’s 3-point shooting and Fred VanVleet’s All-Star level play. The Knicks don’t have a guard on their roster capable of averaging 20.3 points and 6.7 assists per game with VanVleet’s level of elite on-ball defense.
Brunson was dynamite for the Mavericks last season, but this was the only year on his rookie deal in which he looked like a difference-maker capable of earning a nine-figure contract. Evan Fournier is projected to start alongside Brunson. While he’s a solid shooter, his inconsistency can baffle Knicks fans and haters alike.
The Toronto Raptors have a superior backcourt.
Having a player like VanVleet is one thing, but pairing him with an ascending guard like Trent makes Toronto’s combination that much more potent. On a rebuilding team without a critical need to differentiate who is getting the bulk of the shots, Trent could easily average 20 points per game.
When Toronto goes to some of their bigger lineups and inevitably uses OG Anunoby as their 2-guard, they’ll be able to lean on a near-elite defender who has improved his scoring every year he’s been in the league. Barnes and Pascal Siakam are the stars, but the guard play will set Toronto apart.