3 Toronto Raptors who need to elevate their play this season

OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors (Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images)
OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors (Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Raptors had a good year in 2022, but need certain players to continue to elevate their game if that quality of play is to be maintained. Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes made a significant impact on the success of the team. Players like Precious Achiuwa showed steady improvement as the season wore on.

That 48-win mark was impressive because the team was without star player Pascal Siakam to start the year. Injuries also plagued Khem Birch and Fred VanVleet. Head coach Nick Nurse felt he could only rely on a handful of players all season long, as statistics show the Raptors’ bench was the least used and least productive in the NBA.

This means there is room for improvement. Management used the offseason to address the quality of player depth on the roster with the addition of Otto Porter Jr. and the drafting of Christian Koloko, but there are a handful of roster incumbents who need to make their play slightly more effective.

This trio needs to prove to management and the coaching staff that they are deserving of enhanced roles on a team with some huge ambitions. It’s time to prove their worth now, as this year’s training camp could lead to some significant rotation changes in Toronto.

3 Toronto Raptors who must elevate their play

3. OG Anunoby

Anunoby has been impressive in his first five NBA seasons. The Raptors drafted him in 2017 in the first round, and he became a starter 20 games in. In his first playoff action against a LeBron James-led Cavaliers, Anunoby was tasked with guarding James on occasion. He’s spent the next five years becoming a dazzling scorer.

However, the 6-8 forward leaves some wanting more from his play. He may arguably be Toronto’s best defensive player, but he needs to continue diversifying his offensive game. On a team that boasted five 15-point-per-game scorers or higher (including himself) in 2022, this may not be an easy accomplishment.

Toronto Raptors: OG Anunoby wants a bigger role.

Rumors were swirling all summer that Anunoby was not happy with his role in Toronto. At one point, before the draft, there were rumblings he’d be traded to Portland for their lottery pick. So far, Toronto has resisted the urge to deal him away.

OG must use his strength, quickness, size, and skills to beat his opponent off the dribble more regularly. On a team with as many weapons as the Raptors potentially have, should Anunoby get more shots at the expense of Pascal Siakam? If he starts out hot, he might just force Toronto’s hand.

Anunoby also has to find a way to stay on the floor to provide the Raptors with elite offensive play. He has played less than 50 games each of the last two seasons.

Anunoby is a great two-way player to have on your roster, but when this team struggled as it did in the half-court offensively last season, he needs to turn up more. Knowing how he’s improved in his career, this shouldn’t trouble him.