3 former Toronto Raptors who are playing well in 2022-23

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 20: Yuta Watanabe #18 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 20: Yuta Watanabe #18 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Raptors were renowned for their ability to keep their core together in the past decade, but the winds of change have gradually swept through the organization. Only four players from the Raptors team who won a championship in 2018-19 are still hanging around on the roster.

The Raptors have had to make some tough choices in the last few years, parting ways with both franchise icons like Kyle Lowry and fan favorites from the end of the bench like Yuta Watanabe. Luckily, the Raptors have continued their winning ways without these players in the fold.

Even while Lowry tries to get back on track following a slow start and Clippers wing Norman Powell is trying to rediscover the 3-point shot that enticed Portland into giving him such a hefty deal, the league is full of former Raptors that are starting solid second acts to their NBA lives.

These three former Toronto Raptors are trying their best to show Masai Ujiri that they are still effective players in this league. With the roster leaking coolant following tons of injuries compounded after one another, any one of this trio would have been a welcome addition to the team.

3 former Toronto Raptors who are playing well this season

3. Yuta Watanabe, Brooklyn Nets

Watanabe’s Raptors career appeared to be completely over when he was taken out of the rotation in the second half of the season. After managing to link up with a Nets team in need of a high-energy wing that can defend, Watanabe has been so effective that he is now an undroppable rotation player.

Watanabe is averaging 8.1 points per game for Brooklyn, which is much higher than the 4.3 points per game he put on display during his time with the Raptors. The defensive effort that helped endear him to fans has translated to his time with Steve Nash and Jacque Vaughn, as that effort has helped a poor Nets defense harden up lately.

Watanabe is making an insane 61% of his shots from the field and boasts a crazy 57% 3-point success rate that leads all of basketball. He had his moments as a shooter with Toronto, but nothing suggested that he would become one of the game’s best snipers at this point in his career.

The Raptors could use a player like Watanabe right now, as injuries have ravaged their depth chart and made it difficult for them to get consistently excellent play from their shooters. Watanabe is not only becoming a standout bench player, but he’s doing so for the rival Nets.