The Toronto Raptors entered the 2019-20 NBA season as the title-holders but were faced with a tough task of defending it without their Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who left in free agency. Under Coach of the Year winner Nick Nurse, the Toronto Raptors made it all the way to the Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Although they eventually lost to the Boston Celtics, they can be proud of the season they had. However, they have many players out of contract this off-season and with NBA trade rumors surrounding the franchise since their post-season exit, don’t be surprised if you see a brand new roster next season in Toronto.
Toronto Raptors Dream Starting 5 | Point Guard – Fred VanVleet
26-year-old Fred VanVleet is one of the Toronto Raptors starters who will be out of contract this off-season. The 6’1″ guard earned a little over $9 million during the 2019-20 run, but knows very well now that he is worth a lot more, having averaged 17.6 points through the campaign. The New York Knicks are reportedly willing to offer him a contract north of $22 million for his services, but coach Nick Nurse fully expects to have VanVleet at his disposal come the start of next season.
Shooting Guard – Kyle Lowry
Perhaps the most iconic player in Toronto Raptors history, Kyle Lowry will be celebrating his 35th birthday in the middle of next season. However, he is still a quality guard in the NBA, which he proved all over again during the 2019-20 campaign. He carried the franchise almost single-handedly on his back in the Eastern Conference semis against the Boston Celtics. The former Memphis Grizzlies player is far from done, and is very much expected to lead the Toronto Raptors next season as well.
Small Forward – OG Anunoby
23-year-old forward OG Anunoby quietly had a great year, where he averaged 10.6 points on 50.5% shooting from the floor. The highlight of his season came when he knocked down the buzzer-beater triple in game 3 against the Boston Celtics, with just 0.5 seconds left on the clock. He is developing into a very decent two-way player, and the Toronto Raptors would love to keep him beyond his rookie deal that expires in 2021.
Power Forward – Pascal Siakam
26-year-old Cameroonian forward Pascal Siakam continues to grow wonderfully as a player. After winning the Most Improved Player award last season, Siakam not only made the All-Star game, he was also named in the All-NBA second team. Undoubtedly the star turn in the Toronto Raptors team, Siakam led the franchise in scoring. However, his 23 points a game dipped to just 17 in the playoffs, which would be a cause of concern for the franchise. However, come next season, there is no doubt that he would be raring to make amends for what was a below-par post season.
Center – Rudy Gobert
With big men Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka both out of contract this off-season, the center position has a gaping vacancy that needs filling. Rudy Gobert would be an elite option to have in that position. The Frenchman finished 3rd in Defensive Player of the Year voting, after winning the previous two editions of the award. Utah Jazz are reportedly unwilling to pay Gobert the supermax he demands, so the Toronto Raptors may be able to pull it off by offering Norman Powell, and/or a sign-and-trade involving Serge Ibaka.
Published 27 Sep 2020, 20:13 IST