The Toronto Raptors have a pivotal season coming up on the docket, as they will be expected to compete for a top-four seed in the wide-open Eastern Conference. Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and Scottie Barnes will all have their work cut out for them this time around.
The Raptors made a surprisingly savvy hire in the offseason when Rico Hines was brought on as an assistant coach. Renowned for his ability to develop talent both young and old, Hines also brought with him his famous offseason scrimmages, which have a distinctly Canadian twinge to them this year.
Raptors Twitter has been peppered with a collection of highlights showcasing how some of their best and brightest names are holding their own when compared to some of the league’s brightest stars. Hines’ latest scrimmage was a team-wide affair that was not short on individual highlights.
Barnes, VanVleet, and Siakam were all getting some attention at one of Hines’ famous scrimmages. Players at the back and of the roster like D.J. Wilson, Dalano Banton, and rookie big man Christian Koloko were also involved in this workout. Even rookie two-way player Ron Harper Jr. can be seen on the sideline!
The Toronto Raptors had a very productive scrimmage.
The Raptors have to keep a lot of balls in the air with regards to how their roster is managed, as they need to figure out how to give Barnes an increased role in his second season without detracting too much from what VanVleet and Siakam are doing. The young players also need some development.
The latest odds from WynnBET don’t have the Raptors as a bonafide championship contender, showing that there is still some doubt over this team’s ability to replicate their breakout season. Hines is doing his part to ensure everyone is on the same page.
While it’s hard to really gain any sort of tangible information from a short practice clip, we did get to see Barnes attacking the rim, Siakam finishing some tough shots at awkward angles, and VanVleet draining some very deep 3-pointers. That will all translate to real NBA games.
Hines’ scrimmages have morphed from a collection of NBA stars from all over the league playing pickup to Raptors bonding exercises meant to showcase how far along some of their big names are in their development. Hines is expecting big things from this crew in 2022-23.