3 Burning questions for the Raptors to answer after the draft, free agency

The Toronto Raptors have had a busy offseason but without a blockbuster move. What burning questions need answers after the draft and free agency?
Bruce Brown, Toronto Raptors and Julius Randle, New York Knicks
Bruce Brown, Toronto Raptors and Julius Randle, New York Knicks / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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No. 3: Who will start at shooting guard?

Given that the Toronto Raptors have a full complement of rostered players and are pushing up close to the luxury tax, it appears that the expected has become the certain: Gary Trent Jr. is not returning to Toronto. His market is fading fast, and he may be forced to accept an offer below the Mid-Level Exception, but it almost certainly won't be with the Raptors.

That opens up a spot in the starting lineup to be sorted out: who will start at shooting guard? Point guard is locked in with Immanuel Quickley returning to the team, and Scottie Barnes is certainly a lock to start at power forward. Jakob Poeltl is the only sensical choice on the roster at center. RJ Barrett may have once been heading toward a Sixth Man role, but his strong play after landing in Toronto should make him a lock to start. Given the depth of the Raptors' backcourt and lack of reliable forwards, that should place Barrett at small forward.

That leaves one open spot and a lot of candidates left to fill it. Bruce Brown is the veteran option and certainly has the pedigree, but he is not the kind of shooter opponents defend on the perimeter, and his best additive value to an offense is as a secondary ball-handler, a role absolutely not needed when playing with Barnes, Quickley and Barrett.

Gradey Dick is last year's lottery pick and would bring the shooting element, and at 6'6" he at least brings some size even if he's not much of a defender at this point in his career. Ja'Kobe Walter is this year's first-round pick, and his skillset is the best balance of shooting and defense; he is also 19 years old and likely not ready to step in as the Day One starter.

There are other options, but none of them likely better than the above trio. Ochai Agbaji is on the roster and has the skillset, he just hasn't performed like an NBA rotation player thus far in his career, let alone a starter. Davion Mitchell is undersized to start in the backcourt alongside Immanuel Quickley. Sasha Vezenkov could start at small forward and bump Barrett to the 2, but after a shaky rookie season he'll need to prove himself ready first.

Perhaps the answer is a player not yet on the roster, or perhaps it's Gradey Dick in a natural progression as he grows into the role. It's an open question yet to be answered, one of many Toronto will need to face before the start of next season.

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