With the NBA season less than two months away, Raptors fans have plenty to be excited about for the upcoming season.
Toronto looks much better this season with the additions of Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields plus the rookies Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas. The team drafted Ross with the No. 8 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and took Jonas Valanciunas with the No. 5 pick in 2011.
While the Eastern Conference has gotten stronger this summer, the Raptors still have a legitimate shot at reaching the postseason, something they haven’t done since the 2007-08 season.
Toronto begins its season against the Indiana Pacers on October 31, and we should expect a very impressive season for this young team.
While the Raptors were good on the defensive side with their second unit, they really struggled to score, especially after they traded Leandro Barbosa at the trade deadline. Thankfully, they now have a solid bench on both sides of the ball.
Jose Calderon should come off the bench for Toronto next season, and he will be asked to lead a group of young and talented players who have the potential to do well offensively.
Terrence Ross is a good shooter and should find ways to get points off the bench. Amir Johnson and Ed Davis excel in others areas like defense and shot-blocking, but could certainly end up playing big roles for Toronto and averaging double-digit points per game.
Despite relatively weak individual defensive players on the roster, Dwane Casey was able to convince the Raptors to play hard on the other side of the ball, and Toronto finished ninth in opponents' points per game last season.
This year the Raptors have the talent to be even better. With Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, Jonas Valanciunas, Quincy Acy and Landry Fields being added to the team in the offseason, the Raptors have five new players who are all solid defensive players.
Dwane Casey will continue to preach defense next season, so don’t be surprised if the Raptors finish in the top-five for opponents' points per game this year.
Despite the fact that Terrence Ross was drafted with the eighth pick this June by the Raptors, the most anticipated rookie on their team is Jonas Valanciunas.
If JV was part of the 2012 NBA Draft, there’s a decent chance he would’ve gone second overall, ahead of players like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bradley Beal.
Valanciunas could start right away at center for Toronto, as his defense and rebounding should be the strongest out of the big men on the roster.
With great size and talent, Valanciunas should make the All-Rookie team this year and even be in the discussion for Rookie of the Year.
After four years in a row of missing the playoffs, Raptors fans are anxious to see their team reach the postseason. While teams like Brooklyn and Philadelphia improved considerably in the Eastern Conference, the Raptors still have a shot of playing past April this season.
The Raptors now have one of the best point guards in the conference, a legitimate center, a healthy Andrea Bargnani, and their recent draft pick, Terrence Ross, could have a very good year for the team.
Clearly the biggest thing to be excited for if you’re a Raptors fan is seeing how Kyle Lowry pans out. The Raptors missed out on Steve Nash this offseason, but still managed to acquire maybe the best point guard who switched teams this summer.
Lowry plays a very different style than the Raptors' old starter at point guard, Jose Calderon. While Calderon focuses on shooting and setting teammates up, Lowry is a guy who likes to attack the basket and play defense.
The expectations are high for Lowry this year, but that doesn’t mean he can’t live up to them. He has improved in every season in his NBA career, and it won’t be surprising if he gets better once again.