The 2012-13 Toronto Raptors shook up their roster this offseason, adding Kyle Lowry, Landry Fields and Jonas Valanciunas, and getting rid of James Johnson, Jerryd Bayless and Gary Forbes.
As a result, the Raptors’ rotation should look very different compared to last year.
While many of the players stayed the same, their roles didn’t. Aaron Gray and Jose Calderon should no longer start his season, while Ed Davis and Linas Kleiza could play more prominent roles.
Overall, the team should be more competitive and fun to watch, and could squeak into the postseason this spring.
Lowry will end up taking the starting job from Calderon this season, as his defense, rebounding and scoring will immediately make him a favorite of coach Dwane Casey's.
The Raptors struggled with their backcourt defense last year with Jose Calderon and DeMar DeRozan, so Lowry will really help to change that next season.
Lowry will be one of Toronto’s go-to weapons offensively, and could potentially make the All-Star team if Derrick Rose doesn’t come back from his ACL injury.
Calderon will go back to the bench for Toronto, where he’s actually played the best basketball of his career. As a substitute, Jose has averaged 7.3 points and 4.8 assists per game, despite playing in just 20 minutes per game.
Calderon should see decent minutes next year, so his numbers won’t drop too much.
John Lucas isn’t the greatest point guard, but he knows how to score. In April, with Derrick Rose in and out of the lineup, Lucas had 11.8 points per game in just 21 minutes per game.
Lucas struggles to involve his teammates, but can bring offense off the bench when needed.
DeRozan started off last season very poorly for Toronto, but finished strong. After the All-Star break, DeRozan averaged 17.8 points per game and shot 43.4 percent from the field.
If those numbers continue to go up, DeRozan could be the Raptors' best offensive player in 2012-13.
With Andrea Bargnani healthy and the addition of Kyle Lowry, DeRozan won’t have to worry about being double-teamed every game, and should dominate much more at the shooting guard position.
DeRozan will never be an elite three-point shooter, but if he can shoot over 33 percent this year, he should have a much-improved season.
Terrence Ross was drafted No. 8 overall by Toronto in June, and should play an important role this year. Ross is a good shooter and extremely athletic, and could become a Dwane Casey favorite because of his hustle and defense.
Ross is a very good rebounder for his size, and the Raptors could try having DeRozan and Ross in the starting lineup at the same time if the rookie out of Washington shows promise early.
Small forward is probably the weakest position next season for Toronto. The Raptors have some quality players at the position, but no one who would start on a contender.
Landry Fields will most likely be the starter after signing a three-year, $20 million contract back in July. Fields struggled with his shot last year with the Knicks, a problem for many young players due to the lockout.
A full offseason will help Fields gain confidence in his shot, and he should be able to return to his rookie form; he finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting.
Linas Kleiza could step in if Fields struggles, as the six-year veteran showed over the last two years that he can contribute in the starting five.
As a starter, Kleiza has averaged 12.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Kleiza is a tough player and can also provide offense if needed.
At the very least, he will contribute to the Raptors' bench scoring and come in when Toronto needs rebounding.
Alan Anderson should play sparingly for Toronto next year. He was able to get playing time last year when the Raptors were out of playoff contention, but should see the court far less in 2012-13.
Anderson is a decent three-point shooter, but doesn’t bring a lot to the table overall.
Andrea Bargnani was having an All-Star-caliber season before he went down with an injury in January. Before the break, Bargnani averaged 23.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, and was by far the best player on the Raptors.
He struggled a bit after returning in March, but he may have come back from his injury too soon.
Bargnani will continue to provide offense next year, but his rebounding and defense are still issues. If he doesn’t sort them out, Ed Davis may start taking minutes from him.
Davis saw time as a starter for Toronto with Bargnani out, and showed promise. The big man averaged 8.3 points and nine rebounds per game in the starting five. He also added a little defense, with 1.6 blocks per game.
Davis is still young, and should be one of the Raptors' most-improved players in 2012-13. His style is more suitable for Dwane Casey’s system than Bargnani’s, but it would still be surprising if he took the starting power forward spot at some point during the year.
Quincy Acy was a second-round pick for Toronto, but he should still get some playing time next year. Acy was drafted based on his hustle, rebounding and shot-blocking. His style is similar to former Raptor Pop Mensha-Bonsu's.
Acy should become a crowd favorite next year, and maybe squeak into the Raptors’ rotation.
The Raptors actually have three players who are capable of starting at center, so expect Valanciunas, Johnson and Gray to all get serious minutes for Toronto next year.
Jonas Valanciunas should become the starting center for the Raptors, as he is by far the most talented of the group. JV is an excellent rebounder and plays strong interior defense.
It might take a while for him to adjust his offense to the NBA game, but the Raptors already have three players capable of dropping 20 points on any given night in Kyle Lowry, Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan.
Valanciunas should become a key player for Toronto, as they need a big man who can rebound and defend when Bargnani’s on the floor. Don’t be surprised if Jonas Valanciunas is mentioned in Rookie of the Year talks.
Amir Johnson should be the first big man off the bench for Toronto. Johnson is an energetic player who can score, rebound and block shots.
Last year with Toronto, the big man out of California averaged 7.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. Johnson should put up similar numbers this year, and lead one of the strongest benches in the Eastern Conference.
Although Aaron Gray started for the Raptors last year, there is a good chance he’ll become the third center on the depth chart in 2012-13. However, he could still see his fair share of minutes, as Valanciunas is young and could get into foul trouble often.
Gray is a very good rebounder, so he could also see some action when Toronto is struggling to grab boards.