The Toronto Raptors have closed the 2022 preseason on a strong note, beating the rival Boston Celtics in overtime for the second time in as many weeks. A 3-2 record is nothing to shake a stick at, considering how deep they had to dive on the bench for minutes.
The roster has been finalized, and all eyes are set on a home opener against the improved Cleveland Cavaliers. After getting solid performances from Scottie Barnes and O.G. Anunoby in the win against Boston, Nick Nurse has to feel much more comfortable with the state of this team.
As with any competition, however, there are losers. Some players spit the bit with their performance, and some didn’t perform well enough to make the final roster. Figuring out what went wrong in these games is more important than relishing in whatever victories came the team’s way.
The Raptors’ preseason revealed standout players who earned a hypothetical gold star for their play over the last few weeks, but a few players got the short end of the stick thanks to some less impressive showings. Which players won the preseason, and which ones lost?
Winners and Losers from the 2022 Toronto Raptors preseason
Winner: Christian Koloko
Koloko and Dalano Banton are without question the two players who benefitted the most from the preseason. The latter proved that he is worthy of getting backup point guard consideration, while the former has been so good that he may end up getting rotation time over Khem Birch.
After going a perfect 6-6 from the floor against the Celtics, a night that included him running the floor on a fast break and finishing a post hook over Al Horford, Koloko’s stock has never been higher. Koloko averaged 5.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game in just under 14 minutes of work during the preseason.
Christian Koloko has impressed the Toronto Raptors.
Khem Birch will likely be Koloko’s biggest competition when it comes to getting time in the rotation, but Koloko outperformed the veteran in his limited preseason action. The timeline has assuredly sped up, as Koloko was too impressive to deny minutes in his rookie season.
Even if he isn’t as dominant on the offensive end thanks to the leap in competition, the Raptors saw him show beyond a shadow of a doubt that he can defend and move at a very high level. Even at 7-1, Koloko has many of the traits that Toronto loves from their bigs.