There might be a lot of growing pains for the Toronto Raptors this season.
After losing Fred VanVleet to the Houston Rockets in free agency, oddsmakers expect the Raptors to take a step back.
Most sportsbooks have the Raptors win total projection at 36.5. This is a significant step down from the 46.5 projected win total Toronto had entering last season.
The Raptors didn’t come close to hitting the over as they finished last season 41-41 before they were eliminated by the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Play-In Tournament.
The team’s direction is still unclear at this point. Toronto made moves this offseason like re-signing Jakob Poeltl and signing veteran guard Dennis Schroder which should help them compete.
However, there’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the team potentially trading Pascal Siakam which would signal a full rebuild.
The Raptors remain content with their roster as of now, but it will be difficult for them to make the playoffs in a much improved Eastern Conference.
If Toronto wins under 36.5 games they would effectively be out of the playoff and play-in picture.
Raptors should go over win total projection
Toronto’s win total projection at 36.5 is surprisingly low. Yes, the Raptors lost VanVleet this offseason but there’s still enough talent on this team for them to win 40+ games.
The key for the Raptors exceeding expectations is the development of Scottie Barnes.
Barnes enters his third year as a pro and many people expect this to be the season where Barnes takes a substantial leap.
Toronto is hoping Barnes will take on a bigger role on offence and improve his shooting efficiency.
If Barnes can elevate his game while co-existing with his All-Star teammate Pascal Siakam then the Raptors won’t be a pushover.
Another key will be Darko Rajakovic’s ability to get the most out of this roster.
Can other players on this team like OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. take a step forward? Also, can the bench be productive and help alleviate the pressure off the starters? These are things the Raptors hope go their way.
Have you subscribed to the Raptors Nation YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!