The Toronto Raptors are not supposed to contend this season, as they are fresh off a disappointing 41-41 campaign and lost Fred VanVleet. That doesn’t mean the roster cupboards are totally bare and bereft of talent.
In Bleacher Report’s projected ranking of the Top 100 players in the 2023-24 season, the Raptors had more names populating this list than most teams projected to miss the playoffs. Toronto could be in for a very surprising season if these players all perform up to their potential.
Barnes was projected to be the No. 53 player in the league by Bleacher Report, sandwiched in between Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton and Orlando’s Franz Wagner. Anunoby came in at No. 46 (between Dejounte Murray and Andrew Wiggins), while Siakam was ranked No. 24 overall (between Kyrie Irving and Karl-Anthony Towns).
Jakob Poeltl, who recently signed a four-year contract with the Raptors in free agency, was listed as an honorable mention after being left out of the Top 100. Despite his scoring exploits, Gary Trent Jr. was not even considered in the honorable mentions. That might be the most surprising part of this list.
Pascal Siakam, 2 other Toronto Raptors players in B/R’s Top 100.
Poeltl might not be the most dominant offensive center in the world, but his defense and rebounding should have been enough to push him over names like Josh Hart, Kevon Looney, and Jalen McDaniels. It appears that averaging 18 points per game in the last two years wasn’t enough to put Trent in this rarified tier.
While Poeltl and Trent not making the Top 100 was a bit odd, the top three players on the Raptors actually received a good deal of love. B/R correctly assessed that Toronto has two Top 50 players on their roster, and they gave the team’s star in Siakam the proper level of respect.
Siakam has an All-Star and All-NBA nod to his name in the last two seasons, and the hiring of Darko Rajakovic signals a shift to a more high-octane offensive scheme that should benefit the Cameroonian star even more. With free agency coming, Siakam might put the best version of himself on display this year.
While many, including B/R themselves, have doubts about Toronto’s ability to be a cohesive team that wins games, very few are questioning the idea that this team has individual players that are worth watching. It will be incumbent on Rajakovic to push names like Barnes and Anunoby further up the list.