NBA, Toronto Raptors

Where Will the Toronto Raptors Land in the Eastern Conference Hierarchy?

As the NBA preseason concludes and fans get a feel for what their teams are bringing to the court, Raptors fans will look to see if their team can recapture the magic from the 2019 season and bring home another championship.

However, despite the Raptors being “the kind of squad no one really wants to face,” are they the kind of team that can take it all the way this year? Will they struggle on defense, or will they have trouble putting points on the board? Will the absence of Kyle Lowry still be felt, and will it be worth it to put a few bucks down on the team during their season run?

Let’s take a look at the Toronto Raptors’ preseason and how we expect them to perform moving forward. 

Consistency Issues

While this isn’t news that we shouldn’t place too much weight on preseason success or failure, it’s worth mentioning that no matter how good we expect a team to be, there are always consistency issues with preseason teams. Whether it be team synergy, running new plays, or just having bad days whilst getting back in the swing of things, it’s impossible to know how consistent a team will be mostly because minutes are spread out across core players like Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam to players like Jeff Dowtin, Ron Harper Jr. and DJ Wilson that might not make the final roster

Even in the Raptor’s first five games, they’ve had ups and downs going 3-2. With two wins over the Celtics and a commanding win over the Jazz, there’s plenty to be happy about. But on the same token, they’ve lost a game each to the Bulls and Rockets. While 3-2 isn’t bad, it doesn’t always paint the picture of a winning team. And with it only being 5 games, how could it? 

You Bet We Do

But that’s the point of the preseason: shake off the rust and prepare for what’s ahead. If you can take that into consideration while watching, you’ll certainly enjoy what the regular season can offer. Whether that means bragging rights for you or participation in a few friendly bets, we don’t know, but we expect we’ll be putting money down this preseason. And with the Raptors doing as well as they did last season, we expect sports betting in Ontario to be at an all-time high right about now. Last preseason Toronto went 3-2, and by the end of the regular season, they were 5th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 48-34, certainly nothing to sneer at. 

Staying Healthy

If you take a look at Sports Illustrated’s top 100 players of the 2022-2023 season prediction, you can see that Toronto has a strong foothold in the center of the pack with O.G. Anunoby (54th), Scottie Barnes (48th), Fred VanFleet (40th), and Pascal Siakam (32nd) taking four spots in the list. If this is any indication, and we think it is, of how solid Toronto’s leadership will be on the court, there’s no doubt how smoothly the team will be moving together. 

Although the Raptors don’t have the big names some of the other contenders do, they have plenty of talent to work with. The key, as with most teams, is staying healthy this season. Last season Anunoby only played 48 games while Siamkam and VanVleet both missed over a dozen games.

While the Raptors aren’t a squad of household superstars, we expect them to more than make up for that with selfless playing and players that specialize in specific aspects of the game. So be sure to keep up with them this season and look forward to another exciting showing from Ontario’s best. 

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