The Toronto Raptors are entering the 2022-23 season with tons of promise. Scottie Barnes should get better, Fred VanVleet is coming off an All-Stars season, and Pascal Siakam remains one of the best players in the league. The vibes in Toronto are good right now.
While there are plenty of reasons for optimism, the Raptors are well aware that getting above that 50-win plateau and making waves in the playoffs is not going to come easy. On top of the fact that teams like the Donovan Mitchell-led Cavaliers and Nets will be much better, Toronto itself isn’t a perfect roster.
The Raptors are playing in a conference that got much better overnight and are stuck in arguably the best division in the NBA in the Atlantic. Nick Nurse is well aware of the fact that one little slip-up could irreparably mess up all of the positive feelings that Toronto has going for them right now.
The Raptors need to ensure that none of these three nightmare scenarios never come to fruition. If one of these haunting futures ends up coming to pass, repeating their feel-good feats from 2021-22 might become incredibly difficult for this roster to pull off.
3 Toronto Raptors nightmare scenarios in 2022-23.
3. The bench regresses
Surely, there’s no way that the bench can be worse than last year, right? Well, the Raptors decided to essentially bring everyone back and add Otto Porter Jr. to the mix, so the rotation didn’t really get shaken up much. They should be better this year, but there could be hell to pay if they don’t.
Precious Achiuwa proved to be a fantastic shooter last year, and he started the preseason as well as any bench player. However, the Raptors still don’t know how sustainable his late surge was. Boucher and Young are both veterans that could go south with one or two injuries, and Porter must learn Toronto’s complicated scheme.
The Toronto Raptors need a strong bench performance.
The Raptors have pledged to cut down on Siakam and VanVleet’s minutes to avoid putting too taxing a burden on them before the playoffs, but Nurse might be forced to grind them into dust once again this season if the second unit again comes up limp.
Achiuwa and Porter (who is hurt already) need to come out of the gate firing from 3-point range, Boucher needs to avoid the slow start that impacted him last year, and Young needs to turn back the clock and be a master glue guy. If any one of those four things does not happen, things could get ugly.