The Toronto Raptors made a somewhat splashy hire in the offseason when they brought in renowned player development coach Rico Hines. His famous summer scrimmages have a distinctly Canadian feel to them this year given how many Raptors have participated.
Everyoen from established stars like Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet to newcomers like Gabe Brown and Christian Koloko were in attendance. With the East looking deeper than it has been in years, that continuity will be an important factor in Toronto’s path to contention.
Some of the league’s biggest names have popped up at these scrimmages, including Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George. After going toe-to-toe with the best that Toronto had to offer, George had nothing but compliments for how this new-look squad has performed.
George said that he would be “disappointed” in the Raptors if they don’t come out the gate firing following an impressive showing at the Hines scrimmages. Toronto helped steal the show at these scrimmages, setting the stage for a pivotal 2022-23 campaign.
Paul George was impressed by the Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors will certainly find it difficult to start off on the best footing. Of their first 11 games on their 2022-23 schedule, only one of them comes against a team who did not make the playoffs last year. Toronto plays the Heat, 76ers, and Bulls a whopping six times in their first 11 contests. Talk about getting thrown into the deep end.
The one silver lining Raptors fans have when looking at that daunting schedule is the fact that were one of the best teams in the league against the top seeds in the Eastern Conference last year. With winning records against the Bucks, 76ers, and Heat, Toronto won’t be daunted by those squads despite all of their pedigree.
With Siakam and VanVleet coming off the best season of their individual careers and Hines scrimmage superstar Scottie Barnes in line for an even better sophomore season, George’s bold challenge for this upstart roster is not likely to go unheated when the regular season kicks off.
While other contenders decided to move some furniture around in order to get the right combination of talent, Toronto went in the other direction and focused on promoting the young standouts already on the roster to a more prominent role. The Hines runs are just a snapshot of what is to come if they reach their full potential.