• Russell Schmidt

NBA Future Power Ranking 15. Toronto Raptors

*Photo via USA Today

After a blistering start to the 2014-15 NBA season, the Toronto Raptors stumbled during second half of the year, which culminated in a first round sweep at the hands of the Washington Wizards. Back To Back seasons with first round exits to Paul Pierce…We feel your pain Toronto, IT hurts. However, general manager Masai Ujiri has played his hand well and has set the Raptors up for continued success.

Ujiri and the Raptors front office have managed to acquire assets without losing any of their future first round selections. In addition to their own picks, the Dino’s will receive a first round pick in 2016 from the New York Knicks and another first rounder in 2017 (lottery protected) from the Los Angeles Clippers. Those future first rounders could add to the Raptors young talent in former first round picks Delon Wright (2015), Bruno Caboclo (2014) and Lucas Nogueira (2013).

Offseason additions that will don the new Raptors uniform are swingman DeMarre Carroll, power forwards Bismack Biyombo, Luis Scola, and point guard Cory Joseph. Toronto did lose fan favorite Amir Johnson, guard Greivis Vasquez and reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams to free agency however.

*Photo via AP

As great as DeMarre Carroll has become, the Raptors future success rests in the mits of center Jonas Valanciunas. T-Dot needs the seven-footer to continue to grow into his big time potential sooner rather than later. Valanciunas will likely be a restricted free agent next summer and Toronto will have to make a decision if he signs an offer sheet.

Next summer, along with the Valanciunas, Terrence Ross will also likely be restricted, and DeMar Derozan has a player option. Ownership and front office expectations will be crystal clear about the future possibilities of the Raptors as they are currently constructed. There have already been rumors of breaking up the current core because of the belief that they have reached their ceiling. Raps need to impress this year.

Toronto will be a perennial playoff team with their current roster. With three to four teams that are projected to make the playoffs this season being ranked behind Toronto in our future power rankings, the Raptors have a chance to make postseason noise going forward. But will this roster stay intact?

*Photo via Toronto Star


Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com, NBA.com, ESPN.com

Salary cap and contract information courtesy of Spotrac.com, Hoopshype.com, Basketballinsiders.com

Future draft commitments and rosters information courtesy of RealGM.com

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