5. Prediction time: How far will the Raptors go this season?
: Not very. Playoffs are a long shot.
: There is some upside here, but ultimately I see Toronto again landing in that No. 10-11 area in the Eastern Conference. Even if the offense achieves some measure of efficiency, I just don't see enough defense on that roster. The best-case scenario is that the Raptors play unselfishly, make a run at a playoff spot and Valanciunas establishes himself as Toronto's franchise player.
: As presently constructed they should be on the playoff bubble, competing with teams such as Atlanta, Cleveland, Milwaukee and Detroit for the last couple of spots in the East. This feels like a transition season, though, in which seeing growth from Valanciunas and establishing an identity going forward is more important than wins and losses.
: First-round exit. There appears to be enough talent here to finish as a lower seed in the East. The bench could be an issue, but the starting unit was one of the most effective in basketball last season (according to a small sample of data). Too many on this team have too much on the line to throw in the towel.
: Even in the best of circumstances, the Raptors' season would be hammered shut in the first round of the playoffs. If they're lucky, they likely stumble into the eighth seed and make for unadorned roadkill on the unforgiving LeBron James super-highway.