NBA Season Preview: Toronto Raptors

Sam Amico


Camp Location:Fortius Sports & Health Canada, B.C.

Coach:Dwane Casey, seven years, 263-253.

Last Season:56-26, lost to Cleveland in Eastern Conference finals.

Key Returnees:Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, DeMarre Carroll, Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross, Cory Joseph, Patrick Patterson, Lucas Nogueira, Norman Powell, Bruno Caboclo, Delon Wright.

Key Additions:Jared Sullinger (Boston), Jakob Poeltl (rookie, Utah), Fred VanVleet (rookie, Wichita State).

Key Losses:Bismack Biyombo (Orlando), James Johnson (Miami), Luis Scola (Brooklyn), Jason Thompson.

Outlook:The Raptors have several things going for them: They finally got out of the first round, they are well-coached with the forever-wise Dwane Casey, and they have some real stars in Kyle Lowry and DeMarr DeRozan. Everyone else, from Jonas Valanciunas to Terrence Ross to Cory Joseph and beyond has their moments. But like most teams in the East, the Raptors are likely still playing for second. And when you're as good as the Raptors, second place is no place. Even Casey himself has admitted overtaking LeBron James is an often fruitless mission. On the bright side, the Raptors are perhaps better equipped than anyone (in this conference) to at least make a serious run at it.