Toronto Raptors Offseason Moves 2019: Odds and Predictions
Toronto Raptors 2018-2019 Performance
Season Record: 58-24, 2nd in the Eastern Conference.
Head Coach: Nick Nurse
Most Frequent Starting Five (26 Games): (G) Kyle Lowry – (G) Danny Green – (F) Kawhi Leonard – (F) Pascal Siakam – (C) Serge Ibaka
18-19 Top Performers
- F Kawhi Leonard – 26.6 PPG | 7.3 RPG | 1.8 SPG
- F Pascal Siakam – 16.9 PPG | 6.9 RPG | .591 eFG%
- G Kyle Lowry – 14.2 PPG | 8.7 APG | 1.4 SPG
6 July 2018 – Signed (G) Fred Vanvleet as a free agent.
18 July 2018 – Traded (G-F) DeMar DeRozan, (C) Jakob Pöltl and a 2019 first-round draft pick to the San Antonio Spurs for (G) Danny Green, (F) Kawhi Leonard and cash.
10 August 2018 – Signed (C) Greg Monroe as a free agent.
10 January 2019 – Signed (G-F) Patrick McCaw as a free agent.
7 February 2019 – Traded (F) C.J. Miles, (C) Jonas Valančiūnas, (G) Delon Wright and a 2024 second-round draft pick to the Memphis Grizzlies for (C) Marc Gasol.
10 February 2019 – Converted (F-C) Chris Boucher from a two-way contract to a regular contract.
13 February 2019 – Signed (G) Jeremy Lin to a contract for the rest of the season.
26 March 2019 – Signed (G) Jodie Meeks to a contract for the rest of the season.
9 April 2019 – Signed (C) Eric Moreland to a contract for the rest of the season.
The North Will Always Remember
How hungry are you? Raptors Championship Parade edition. These guys can’t wait for their healthy diets to be over!! pic.twitter.com/UCQFUEK0SM
— Serge Ibaka (@sergeibaka) June 19, 2019
It may have been a single season, but it was one of pure brilliance for the Toronto Raptors.
After swinging for the fences and trading franchise centerpiece Demar Derozan in exchange for Kawhi Leonard, Toronto found themselves champions of the NBA.
The Raptors may not have been able to hold on to their star, but history is written and the Toronto Raptors are the only non-American franchise to win the NBA Championship.
Spicy, With Room to Heat Up
— NBA (@NBA) June 14, 2019
If one were to look at the Toronto Raptors at the beginning of the 18-19 season, none would have expected that it would be third-year forward Pascal Siakam who would take the lead as their second star.
After projecting to be nothing more than an energy player off the bench, Pascal Siakam took to the gym all summer in order to improve his game. Playmaking, shooting, and defending were just three areas where he excelled by leaps last year.
Rightly so, Siakam took home the 2019 NBA Most Improved Player Award.
Mafuzzy Chef Was Cooking All Year
— NBA (@NBA) January 6, 2019
Many believed that Serge Ibaka’s abilities were compromised last season. Slow-footed side-to-side and offensively unchecked, Ibaka’s star-making season was a massive benefit to their championship run.
The best step for Ibaka was head coach Nick Nurse’s choice to move him to the center position. By bringing him closer to the basket and operating almost strictly via the pick and roll, Ibaka’s efficiency on both ends of the court was increased drastically.
More will be asked of Ibaka in 2019-2020, but his ceiling can still be met. After shooting only 29% from three last year, a new facet of Ibaka’s game could easily be unlocked.
Here for a Good Time, Not a Long Time
— Sports Notes (@TheSportsNotes) June 17, 2019
The acquisition of Kawhi Leonard was undoubtedly a surprise. That shock grew exponentially when it paid off and Leonard won his second NBA Finals MVP when he led the Raptors to the championship.
Unfortunately for the Toronto Raptors, after a drawn-out free agency period, Leonard chose to ply his trade in his home state of California with the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Raptors have some rebuilding to do, but the legacy of Kawhi Leonard in Toronto needed no more than one season to build.
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Lin-Sanity Officially Ends
Jeremy Lin mentioned in his press conference he wants to help China’s basketball by setting up basketball schools and he participated All-Star games & TV basketball shows are for charity purposes. He hopes it will benefit to China’s children！Great heart❣️ pic.twitter.com/9u2wtrM2f7
— Kwawa (@kwawa_hsuk302) September 26, 2019
When the Toronto Raptors unloaded Delon Wright in the package to acquire Marc Gasol, they grew dangerously thin at the point guard position. Cue recently waived veteran Jeremy Lin, who was signed to shore up their playoff depth.
Unfortunately, Lin never found his stride with the Toronto Raptors. In twenty-three appearances, Lin shot a party 37% from the field and 20% from deep. He also sported a less than stellar 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Lin found himself without NBA suitors over the offseason and is now contracted with the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association.
Misfortune Among the Ranks
Often fans are caught up with occurrences on the court, that many forget that players have their own lives that have their ups and downs off the court.
Tragedy struck the Raptors multiple times last year. OG Anunoby lost his father near the opening of the year, Patrick McCaw lost his brother during the Eastern Conference Finals, head coach Nick Nurse lost his mother, and Kyle Lowry lost his grandmother near the NBA Finals.
The NBA Championship is a meaningless gain in the scheme of what the Raptors family lost last year. But their strength and resolve to complete their ultimate goal deserves all the commendation.
Bet On Yourself
Fred VanVleet is coming up big these Finals ?
Raps been calling on his number for clutch buckets and lockdown defense pic.twitter.com/KhXIYT82DO
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) June 6, 2019
An undrafted, undersized point guard out of Wichita State, not much was expected of Vanvleet when he entered the league. Now the NBA’s eyes are on him, as he enters his fourth year an NBA Champion.
Vanvleet always figured to play a big role with the Raptors due to his defensive ability, but he came out on fire late in the playoffs.
After a worrying cold streak, the birth of his son seemed to spark his success. As a father, Vanvleet shot a blistering 52.3% from deep in his last ten games to help his team to the championship.
Understand the Grind
Happens to the best of em. Norman Powell gets jiggy wit it on Anthony Davis with this dunk pic.twitter.com/Yluh0jbEJA
— Courtsidehoopz (@courtsidehoopz1) February 1, 2017
Norman Powell is the Toronto Raptors’ energizer off of the bench. A springy combo-guard with some streaky shooting, Powell is an enigmatic contributor.
Initially competing for the starting shooting guard position with Danny Green, an early injury forced Powell to miss twenty-two games of the NBA season.
His focus was not altered when he returned though, as Powell set career highs in points, assists, rebounds, steals, and even shot an impressive 40% from three on almost three attempts per game.
— Raptors 905 (@Raptors905) April 1, 2019
Coming over from the Golden State Warriors, not much was expected of Boucher who joined on a two-way contract. Slim and a late starter, the French-Canadian’s upside was enticing but considered limited.
He proved the doubters wrong with his G-League campaign with Raptors 905. Thrilling on both ends of the court and being the first player to ever win the NBA G-League MVP and Defensive Player of the Year award in the same season.
Boucher was signed for the remainder of the 18-19 season but is still maintains partial/non-guaranteed status in training camp.
2019 NBA Draft Acquisitions
The Toronto Raptors had a single draft pick, late in the second round during the NBA Draft. While quality isn’t guaranteed that deep, the Raptors once again went for the unexpected.
(F-C) Dewan Hernandez – Miami (FL) – USA – Toronto Raptors, 2nd Round (29th Pick, 59th Overall)
— Juvenics (@Juvenics) July 10, 2019
Hernandez has not played organized basketball since the 17-18 season due to his part in an NCAA scandal. The Raptors swung for the fences on him, as his athleticism at 6’10 is more than intriguing enough to take a chance on. He showed excellent offensive improvement during the Las Vegas Summer League as well.
Hernandez occupies one of the Toronto Raptors Non/Partial Guaranteed roster spots going into training camp. While he is an interesting prospect, he doesn’t figure to be able to crack the current frontcourt rotation.
2019 NBA Offseason Acquisitions
(F) Stanley Johnson – 2 Years/$7.4 Million
Y’all agree with Stanley Johnson? ? pic.twitter.com/jAEHOy9Qm8
— theScore (@theScore) September 28, 2019
Johnson fits the Toronto Raptors’ desire for versatile defenders. At 6’7 and 240 pounds, Johnson is expected to be one of their strongest presences. The Raptors boast excellent shooting from the perimeter, so Johnson will have to at least keep his opponents honest from deep.
(F) Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – 1 Year/$2.5 Million
— NBA (@NBA) December 13, 2017
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is coming off a down year. He struggled to appear due to roster depth and health. An energetic combo-forward, Hollis-Jefferson looks to rebound and increase his value after a difficult season. He will be the recipient of some excellent passers, so his finishing ability will be vital.
(G) Matt Thomas – 3 Years/$4.1 Million
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) September 30, 2019
The Toronto Raptors were able to find themselves one of the world’s best three-point shooters. After a record-setting season where Thomas converted on 99% of his open three-point attempts, the Raptors will hope his services will continue under their stable. He failed to impress with his athleticism or defensive ability in his first NBA stint, so the jury is out on whether or not he can keep up on both ends.
(G) Terence Davis – 2 Years/$2.4 Million
Terence Davis is one of my favorite basketball prospects I’ve interviewed. I’m excited to see what he does on the Toronto Raptors. He had 22 points with 5 three-pointers and 5 rebounds in his NBA summer league debut.
— Bryan Kalbrosky (@BryanKalbrosky) July 8, 2019
Terence Davis is an electrifying shooting guard who had the season of his career during his senior year at Ole Miss. Initially with the Denver Nuggets during the summer league, the Toronto Raptors were able to entice him with a surprising guaranteed contract. He can do a little bit of everything but will need to show he has the maturity to reign it in with a limited role.
Training Camp Additions
The Toronto Raptors have twelve players guaranteed, with the ability to sign three more and add two via two-way contracts. There are eight battling for the spot, while five are new faces to the Raptors organization.
(G) Cameron Payne – Non/Partial Guaranteed
The end of an era…. RIP the Russell Westbrook Cameron Payne pregame dances pic.twitter.com/jd8Rmxbyqn
— 3OT Media (@TripleOTMedia) February 23, 2017
An offensively adept point guard, Payne looks to reinvigorate his career with the Toronto Raptors. He looks to be able to add another shooter to their depth, while also being a passable playmaker.
(G) Isaiah Taylor – Non/Partial Guaranteed
— NBA (@NBA) October 9, 2018
Taylor is the purest point guard between him and Payne. While he doesn’t shoot the ball as well, his ability to run the offense is noted. He owned an impressive assist percentage of 27% last year with the Hawks.
(C) Sagaba Konate – Exhibit 10
Sagaba Konate hosted a BLOCK PARTY in the first half Monday night. ? pic.twitter.com/A7sl7son1X
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 16, 2018
While Konate was limited due to injury last year, he was still one of the NCAA’s most intimidating shot-blockers. Biyombo-esque in his outlook on the defensive side, Konate has the quick feet and timing to be a great defensive piece. He improved his shooting in his last season as well, shooting 39% from deep on almost three attempts per game.
(F) Oshae Brissett – Exhibit 10
Oshae Brissett putback through traffic! #NBASummer
— NBA (@NBA) July 13, 2019
Brissett is an energy forward that Nurse loves to have on the court. He also has the benefit of being on Nurse’s Canadian national side this past summer. A rangy forward, Brissett could bring a lot of intangibles to the court. His shooting is lackluster to say the least.
(F) Devin Robinson – Exhibit 10
— NBA (@NBA) April 10, 2019
Robinson was excellent in his G-League campaign last year. While his shooting ability is still shaky, he is still incredibly long and an impressive force in transition and in the passing lanes.
Expected Depth Chart
|Point Guard||Shooting Guard||Small Forward||Power Forward||Center|
|Kyle Lowry||Norman Powell||OG Anunoby||Pascal Siakam||Serge Ibaka|
|Fred Vanvleet||Patrick McCaw||Stanley Johnson||Rondae Hollis-Jefferson||Marc Gasol|
|Cameron Payne (Partial/Non-Guaranteed)||Matt Thomas||Malcolm Miller (Partial/Non-Guaranteed)||Chris Boucher (Partial/Non-Guaranteed)||Dewan Hernandez (Partial/Non-Guaranteed)|
|Isaiah Taylor (Partial/Non-Guaranteed)||Terence Davis||Oshae Brissett (Exhibit 10)||Devin Robinson (Exhibit 10)||Sagaba Konate (Exhibit 10)|
2019-2020 Season Expectations
While the Toronto Raptors will tell you they expect to repeat as Champions this year, they have undoubtedly gotten weaker while the rest of the NBA has grown stronger. They will have their work cut out for them.
The success of the Toronto Raptors lies in the production of rising stars Pascal Siakam, Fred Vanvleet, OG Anunoby, and Norman Powell. The Raptors must prove they weren’t carried by Leonard last season.
Weaker but not inconsequential, the Toronto Raptors project to be a top-six team in the East. With aging legends and rising stars on their roster, this season is truly a turning point for the Raptors franchise.
Toronto Raptors – Odds to Win the NBA Championship 2019-2020