The Toronto Raptors have to be absolutely thrilled with how the preseason has gone so far. Nick Nurse’s team has been setting the world on fire with a dominant 32-point win against the Utah Jazz and a ferocious comeback victory against the rival Boston Celtics under their belts.
The Raptors could not go 3-0 to start the preseason, as they fell to the Rockets in Houston on Friday night. The loss of Otto Porter Jr. showed, as even the starters could not get anything going from beyond the 3-point line or at the charity stripe against Tari Eason.
The preseason can often be a mirage, as bench players are not going to play like legitimate stars during the regular season. That doesn’t change the fact that the Raptors have to feel much better about the state of their bench now than they did at the start of camp.
These three players have stood out more than anyone else in Toronto’s exhibition schedule, as they have exceeded even the loftiest expectations that fans have set for them. With continued hard work, they will be knocking on the door of the rotation.
3 Toronto Raptors 2022-23 preseason stars
3. PG Dalano Banton
The Raptors added Banton intending to turn this raw defense-first guard into a solid pro player. He had a few cups of coffee in the NBA, but nothing that would signal he is a can’t-miss talent. After a few games, Banton has shown that he would be worthy of an NBA rotation spot on most teams.
Dowtin chipped in nine points and three rebounds against Utah, looking spry and energetic while doing so. He played an instrumental part in helping the Raptors come back against Boston with eight points. Luckily, he’s saved the finest of his first three preseason games for last, with 14 points in 20 minutes against Houston.
Dalano Banton has impressed the Toronto Raptors
Banton has taken advantage of the fact Malachi Flynn has missed the last two games. If the two are still competing for the backup point guard spot, the Nebraska alum has emerged as the clear favorite for this job. He looks like a totally different player.
Banton has physical promise last year, but he was overwhelmed at times by the prospect of being in the NBA. With more composure and consistency under his belt, Banton is setting the stage for a humungous break out if he is given ample runway.