Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors are finally set to make their 2022-23 season debut against Donovan Mitchell and the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers. Winning 48 games was an exceptionally high total, given the preseason expectations placed on this team last year, but they won’t be viewed as surprise darlings this year.
Siakam, 2021 All-Star Fred VanVleet, and reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes make up a powerful three-headed monster that should be good enough to best many of the more effective teams in this conference. Toronto has officially transitioned from a developing young team to one with expectations of postseason success.
To further that end, the Raptors made a few new additions to the bench while choosing to retain large chunks of the team’s rotation early in free agency. This is a gamble on Masai Ujiri’s talent evaluation, but the Raptors have typically done well for themselves when they bet on their masterful executive.
It’s time to chug that Raptors Kool-Aid, drape yourself in red, black, and white, and get very optimistic about the places this team can go this season. If Nick Nurse presses the right buttons, these five seemingly bold predictions about the 2022-23 season could become a reality.
5 bold predictions about the 2022-23 Toronto Raptors.
5. All starters average more than 15 points per game again
The Raptors were the only team that had all five of their starters average more than 15 points per contest, though their new-look bench is designed to alleviate some of the pressure on the starters. After a host of injuries befell Toronto, that future coming to fruition seems unlikely.
Otto Porter Jr. seems to be a few weeks away from joining this team, while Chris Boucher is also dealing with a hamstring problem. The sudden lack of depth coupled with the continued improvement of Toronto’s coalition of stars will produce gaudy scoring numbers.
The Toronto Raptors have five excellent starters.
Siakam is still an All-NBA player primed to topple last season’s gaudy numbers, while VanVleet has the shooting stroke needed to be an All-Star for the second time. Barnes will only get better with time, much like how Anunoby has increased his scoring every year he’s been in the league and how Trent took a giant leap forward.
Toronto’s bench is going to be better than it was last year, but this team is still top-heavy by design. The Raptors have bent over backward to make sure these five achieve their full potential, and it’s time to see if they’ll follow through on those wishes in the regular season.