The Toronto Raptors are unlikely to make many more moves in the 2023 offseason, setting the stage for what promises to be an incredibly important 2023-24 regular season. Everyone on the roster will have to play a part in replacing Fred VanVleet and getting Darko Rajakovic into the postseason.
Rather than doing the usual Raptors thing of signing free agents to non-guaranteed contracts that will lock in when they make the roster and letting them fight one another for a roster spot, most of Toronto’s group is set in stone. The end of the bench is an unusual combination of neophyte youngers and greybeard vets.
This combination of players will get on the floor in the Raptors’ preseason schedule, which will see them head to Vancouver and take on teams projected to finish alongside them in the standings. The preseason will be the best chance for these seldom-used reserves to shine.
Look for this trio of Raptors to make their presence known in the next few months, as they could use this series of exhibitions games to show Rajakovic that they are worthy of inclusion in the team’s short-term plans. Who will emerge as the next fan favorite?
3 Toronto Raptors secret weapons who will emerge in the preseason
3. Javon Freeman-Liberty
The Raptors have used up all three of their available two-way spots, as Ron Harper Jr. was brought back for a second season while 5-8 Kansas State star Markquis Nowell is ready to embark on what he believes will be a legendary career. Freeman-Liberty joined the team right after Summer League after dominating with the Bulls.
The former DePaul star, who averaged 18.2 points per game in the G League with the Windy City Bulls, put up a terrific 21.2 points per game in five Summer League contests. The fact that Bulls fans were so upset after JFL was signed away further cements the notion that he is a talented player Chicago bungled.
Javon Freeman-Liberty could impress the Toronto Raptors.
Harper is a versatile player who can shoot, but he wasn’t the best at creating for himself. As good as Nowell was in college and in Summer League play, it goes without saying that a point guard with borderline unpreceded size will face some challenges in the NBA.
With Freeman-Liberty’s size, scoring intuition, and ability to play both guard spots, he could have the best chance of any of the two-way players to stick with the Raptors. The preseason will likely be his best chance to show off what he can do to this new coaching staff.