The Toronto Raptors are finally done with their 2022-23 preseason schedule, and they can bask in the relative glow of a 3-2 record. Toronto beat the rival Celtics twice, both of which required overtime, while dominating the Jazz by 32 points in Edmonton early in the preseason.
While the Raptors certainly have more positives to look back on than negatives, that doesn’t mean the preseason was utterly perfect and without any sort of consternation. Toronto was by no means the most efficient offense in the world, and some starters looked less than dominant.
With the regular season getting kicked off on Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto knows they need to hit the ground running if they want to keep up with the rest of the joneses in the very tight Eastern Conference. Nick Nurse will pour over preseason tape for the next few days to further that end.
Now that the Raptors have dusted themselves off following a very taxing series of games, Nurse needs to ensure that these three lessons are firmly embedded in his frontal lobe. From standout bench players to concerning trends, the preseason was quite revealing.
3 lessons the Toronto Raptors learned in the preseason
3. Christian Koloko can play right away
Koloko was drafted with the expectation that the developmental masterminds in Mississauga were going to take their time in getting him ready for the NBA. Based on the first few preseason games, Koloko would not look out of place if he was thrown into the rotation as a rookie.
Koloko made all six of his shots while also grabbing four rebounds against the Celtics, showing that the 7-1 big man is further along on the offensive end than most thought he would be. After blocking another shot and moving well in the paint, Koloko showed signs of being a defensive anchor on the inside.
The Toronto Raptors must use Christian Koloko.
Koloko was not just dunking the ball from a stationary position. He was running the floor with uncommon grace for a big man his size and finishing off post hooks with veterans like Al Horford draped all over him. How in the world did this guy fall to the second round?
The Raptors will not retain DJ Wilson this season, and Koloko’s rapid improvement likely played a considerable role in convincing them that he was expendable. The Raptors will be doing the rotation a disservice if the Arizona product is not involved, especially given all the injuries.