The Toronto Raptors decided not to enter a full rebuild this offseason and seem to believe in their current group.
The Raptors are hoping for players on their team to elevate their game. Especially Scottie Barnes who will be entering his third season.
Nonetheless, the Raptors will once again be pegged as an underdog.
Toronto won’t get much attention from the outside media unless they earn it.
This is evident by the Raptors only receiving one nationally televised game on their schedule.
Bleacher Report recently made predictions for every NBA team and project the Raptors to be lottery bound.
B/R predicts the Raptors to go 36-46 in 2023-24, which is under their over-under projection of 36.5 victories.
B/R cites the Raptors being worse for losing Fred VanVleet and his three-point shooting:
But losing Fred VanVleet for nothing hurts. Over the last three years, the Toronto Raptors were plus-3.1 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor and minus-2.1 without him.
His 37.3 career three-point percentage will be sorely missed by a team that was already bad from the outside in 2022-23.
Losing an All-Star guard like Fred VanVleet will certainly hurt, especially for a team that struggled to shoot the basketball and looked stagnant on offence.
However, it will open the door for other players like Scottie Barnes. His development will be a main focus this season and he will be heavily involved on offence.
B/R mentions that point Scottie Barnes is the Raptors’ X-Factor for this season and they are spot on about that.
Scottie Barnes can help Raptors exceed expectations
All eyes will be on Scottie Barnes in his third year. Many are expecting Barnes to take a big leap and bounce back from an underwhelming sophomore season.
Scottie Barnes could very well end up being the Raptors’ full-time point guard so he will have the ball in his hands a lot.
If Barnes excels as a playmaker while increasing his shooting percentages, he should see plenty of success. Barnes also needs to fully commit to being the best defender he can be.
If Scottie Barnes takes that next step and he and Pascal Siakam co-exist, then the Raptors will exceed all expectations.
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