Over the next couple weeks we will be projecting who finishes where in the Eastern Conference this season. From last place to first, Monday was the Bobcats, Tuesday the Magic, today the Raptors.
#13: Toronto Raptors
For the Toronto Raptors it will be another long season without making the playoffs. The other teams in their division got better while they spent their off-season doing nothing. The Raptors have been an average team every season, with the exception of a couple of years, and that is exactly what kind of team they will be this year.
Surrounded by the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics, and New York Knicks, it will be very hard for Toronto to get many wins in their division. All four of those teams are projected to make the playoffs, making the Raptors schedule even more difficult this season.
According to ESPN, the Raptors’ starting lineup is:
PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: Terrence Ross
SF: DeMar DeRozan
PF: Andrea Bargnani
C: Jonas Valanciunas
Like the previous two teams in my projected standings, I do not see where Toronto is going to get scoring from with this group. Yes, they will get their wins against teams like Orlando and Charlotte, but I do not see them competing with the rest of the teams in their division. Andrea Bargnani was their leading scorer last year and he didn't average more than 20 points per game. I do not see that changing much this season. Meanwhile, Jonas Valanciunas has yet to play a game in the NBA, so who even knows how good of a center he'll be for the Raptors.
One thing the city of Toronto and the Raptors have to look forward to though is that their core group is very young, for the most part. Not only will experience help them tremendously, but they will get better as the season goes on. DeRozan is also one of the best dunkers in the NBA, so that'll be at least entertaining.
Josh Poloha is a Senior at The Ohio State University and our newest contributor here at StepienRules.com. Follow Josh on Twitter: @JorshP or email him at poloha.1 [at] osu.edu.
I think that's a little too low ion my opinion, because I'm from Canada and that I am a Raptors fan, but I can see them being FAR better than the third worst team in the Eastern Conference. First of all, there are least four teams that are worse than the Raptors in terms of the strength of their rosters--those are the Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Bobcats, Orlando Magic, and YOUR CLEVELAND CAVS. Add the fact that the Raptors were a top ten defensive team in spite of its roster last season, their prospects should be considered far improved than they have ever been.
I'm not expecting them to make the playoffs, but I do expect the Raptors to finish second in the Atlantic Division seeing that they might be a four way tie for first place; however, they are far from being the third worst team in the East.