The Latest on the Toronto Raptors
The defending champion Raptors are exceeding expectations during the early goings of the 2019-20 season. Despite injuries to Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, Toronto is far from a team in shambles.
Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet have carried this team. Likewise, the Raptors have seen some important contributions from players further down the depth chart. Let’s discuss:
Can Siakam continue to roll?
Siakam leads the team in both points (26.2) and rebounds (8.7 per contest). His improvement on both ends of the floor, especially in the absence of Kawhi Leonard, has been astounding.
While driving to the basket is still the biggest aspect of his offense, Siakam is growing more comfortable with off-dribble jumpers. Defensively, Siakam is really taking care of business. If he continues to play at this high of a level, it is likely he will make his first All-Star team.
What’s next for Fred VanVleet?
After a heroic showing during last year’s postseason run, FVV is stepping up in a big way for Toronto. VanVleet is top ten in assists, and is doing an excellent job at distributing the ball to his playmakers. He has been very aggressive with his jump shooting, too, and is keeping defenders on their toes. His ability to utilize screens to generate open shots has been important as well.
For the Raptors to continue their early upward trajectory, VanVleet will need to improve his consistency on a night-to-night basis a tad. There is hardly any depth at the guard position for the Raptors, so VanVleet’s play will be more crucial than ever.
Who are Chris Boucher and Terence Davis?
The undrafted duo has been making some noise among fans after recent strong performances. Boucher racked up two double-digit scoring games against the Clippers and Lakers. He also secured 7 boards in a win at Portland. Terence Davis also had a very impressive outing in Portland, scoring 15 points on 50 percent shooting.
There was not much to be said about the duo entering the season, but with increased play time due to injury, Boucher and Davis have been able to showcase their talent. While it is still unclear what the rest of the season holds for them, they are making a valuable impact in the second unit.
What’s next for the vets?
Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka are both sidelined with injuries early in the season. Marc Gasol has started the season very slow and doesn’t look like the player we saw last summer. I still am of the belief that Lowry will remain a Raptor for the remainder of his career. As for Gasol and Ibaka, their trade stock will continue to plummet if they cannot find their rhythm. We have seen in the past that Masai Ujiri can work magic on the trade market, but only time will tell.