The Toronto Raptors are finally ready to get the preseason underway, as they look prepared to show the league that their 48 wins last year was no fluke. The first step towards achieving their lofty goals is making sure that the preseason starts without a hitch.
Last year, we saw Justin Champagnie make a name for himself while non-guaranteed standouts like Yuta Watanabe showed that they had to be included in Toronto’s 2021-22 plans. As with any collection of preseason games, those players will be in the spotlight once again.
Going up against a Jazz team that completely deconstructed the roster in favor of kick-starting a long rebuild will give some of these Raptors a very promising pathway with which they can make their case for some rotation time. This is a tall task, but not impossible.
These three Raptors will likely end their debut preseason skirmish against Utah with plenty of praise and adoration. Given the limited nature of the preseason, it’s incumbent on this trio to prove their quality to Nick Nurse despite some limited reps at full speed.
3 Toronto Raptors who will star against the Jazz
3. Justin Champagnie
With Dalano Banton widely expected to take one of the final roster spots, Champagnie is competing with multiple veterans for the chance to be the Raptors’ 15th man. While his NBA minutes last year were extremely limited, he showed he can be a tremendous rebounder and defender despite his size.
The big issue with Champagnie has always been his ability to generate offense. He is regarded as a below-average shooter and lacks an amazing handle with which he can create. He can show that he’s improved as a perimeter player, as that’s likely where he’ll slot in as an NBA player.
Justin Champagnie should start hot for the Toronto Raptors.
TSN’s Josh Lewenberg said that Banton and Juancho Hernangomez would likely make the final roster, meaning that Champagnie will compete against DJ Wilson and Josh Jackson for the final spot. Both of Champagnie’s main competitors have years of experience in the NBA at their back.
While Champagnie has the advantage of schematic familiarity on his side, that will not be enough by itself. He needs to come out guns blazing in the first few preseason games to prove to everyone what a unique talent he can be if he corrects some of the rough edges in his game.