The Toronto Raptors are coming into what will end up being one of the most pivotal seasons in franchise history with a roster that is somehow both nearly identical to last year and full of questions, considering how much the conference around them has changed.
The Raptors brought back their entire rotation from last year, all while leaning on the exploits of Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes, and Fred VanVleet to make sure this team competes for a deep playoff run. That sounds great, but the Raptors won’t have the benefit of a subpar east this time around.
Toronto had to watch names like Dejounte Murray and Donovan Mitchell get added to playoff hopefuls, while the lack of Kevin Durant trade has helped breathe new life into a Nets team who needed a pick-me-up. The Raptors will need to come into the season without any issues as it relates to the rotation.
Toronto has some questions that still need to be answered before the games start counting for real. Preseason will inevitably help things out, but the Raptors need to ensure they have their I’s dotted and T’s crossed by the time the season rolls around.
4 burning questions the Toronto Raptors need to answer.
4. Who is the backup point guard?
Last season, the Raptors shuffled between Dalano Banton, who provides solid defense and poor shooting, and pro-am extraordinaire Malachi Flynn before pulling the plug. Nick Nurse eventually truncated his rotations, using point forwards like Barnes and Siakam behind VanVleet.
Last year, VanVleet’s knees were ground into a fine powder by the end of the season. The Raptors will not have a shot of contending if VanVleet is anything less than the All-Star he showed he could be last year. The seven-man rotations with VanVleet playing 44 minutes only make sense if Nurse wants to lose games.
Who will be the No. 2 point guard for the Toronto Raptors?
Banton and Flynn will likely get first dibs on trying to replace VanVleet, but nothing will be guaranteed to players that had some lowlights last season. If neither of them end up becoming quality reserves, Nick Nurse will not hesitate to put Barnes or Siakam in the game for one second.
Most of the significant additions in the East have been standout guards, which should stress Toronto’s backcourt depth to breaking point. The Raptors can positively spin any number of backup point guards options, but Nick Nurse needs to give fans a definitive answer.