No one in the national media expects the Toronto Raptors to do much of anything in the 2023-24 season. With Fred VanVleet in Houston, Nick Nurse in Philadelphia, and Darko Rajakovic starting his first season, expectations for this team are in the gutter.
Major media outlets are projecting them to win around 36 games, which could be seen as reasonable for a team with no starting point guard and two star players that have trade rumors circling overhead constantly. However, the Raptors have proven to be more than capable of proving doubters wrong in the past.
The Raptors are banking on new additions and internal development to be able to replace VanVleet, supplement stars like Pascal Siakam, and get Toronto back into the postseason. No one thought 48 wins were coming in 2021-22, so why can’t this team win games this season?
If Rajakovic wants to be a winner in his first season at the helm, Toronto will need this trio of players to shock the world. Be them a toolsy forward, greybeard veteran guard, or promising young superstar-in-training; these three have all of the haters and naysayers firmly in their proverbial crosshairs.
3 Toronto Raptors players who could shock the world in 2023-24.
3. Jalen McDaniels
The Raptors chose to hand out a two-year deal to McDaniels, who was trying to rebuild his value after a somewhat disappointing stretch as a trade deadline acquisition with the Philadelphia 76ers. McDaniels’ scoring took a dip, and he’s out for blood as he tries to get back on the right track.
McDaniels should quickly supplant another veteran free agent in Otto Porter Jr, as he is a much younger player with a higher defensive ceiling. The key to McDaniels thriving with the Raptors, unsurprisingly, will be finding a role on the offensive end that allows him to thrive.
Jalen McDaniels found a home with the Toronto Raptors.
McDaniels has shown to be a solid 3-point shooter when he gets open, and that could be a very important feather in his cap as he joins a team coached by an offensive guru in Rajakovic. If the 3-point shot he flexed with Philadelphia and Charlotte makes the trip to Toronto, his natural athleticism could steal the show.
A pesky defender who can guard just about any position on the floor and fly to the basket, McDaniels was straight off the Masai Ujiri conveyor belt. This fanbase has its fair share of players like this, but there is reason to believe this promising youngster will be different.