Here are my predictions on the Raptors upcoming season (Assuming Buycks, and Stone are signed)
Raptors Roster 15/15
SG: Derozan/Ross/Daye B-
Overall grade: B-
6th in the East
Point guard: Situation here is questionable. Lowry is relied on and should be a 14pts + 7asts player for this to translate into wins. One of the backup point guards should be able to get 6pts and 4asts consistently to stabilize this unit. DJ Augustin should be able to accomplish that stat line. Buycks hasn't proven himself on the court enough. Julyan Stone is the smoothest passer out of the three backup point guards, but will lack any type of offense. However this position performs, is going to make or break the Raptor's playoff hopes.
Shooting guard: Demar Derozan is still a borderline all-star, regardless with a good improvement in every stat in the preseason. Terrence Ross needs to be consistent with his jumper. Austin Daye will make at least one three pointer a game in his spot minutes, which will be fine for a third string guard, but his lack of defense and rebounding lowers the grade (aka poor man's primo). Otherwise, a balanced unit offensively, with decent defense.
Small forward: Rudy Gay is going to be an all-star next year, and during preseason he proved that his eye surgery improved his shooting considerably. Landry Fields has improved his finishing ability and his playmaking skills are a good asset for his height but must get back to his rookie shooting number percentages for this unit to have reasonable depth. Novak will spread the floor hitting threes, as expected. Balanced offense and defense here.
Power forward: Amir is a high energy bench player. To make him able to come off the bench and produce from there, is a plus. Tyler Hansbrough is a gritty version of Amir. With both of their impact on the game, stats should be similar. Quincy Acy has shown that it isn't a bad idea to give him spot minutes every few games, as his energy remains unmatched compared to the rest of the team. The rebound rate here, will be solid. As of now, they are undersized at this position which will create problems switching on defensive screens to get caught on mismatches with the opposing center.
Center: Valanciunas is a future all-star on this team. Yes, I said it. His improved physical strength has been tested in the preseason. For just a sample size of that, he is doing fine against bigger centers in the league. Raptors need a solid backup centre, an experienced veteran who is capable of playing good post defense while putting up 6pts, 5rebs each night. No offense to Aaron Gray, but he's always going to be a 3rd center option on this team because the majority of the team likes to run a lot. Doesn't suit your gameplay Aaron.
All of the starters are set for a career year. Lowry lost weight, gained more speed, and appears smarter with the passing of the ball. Derozan has shown us the potential is finally coming through. Improved footwork, better defense, and shooting above 50 percent in the preseason. Rudy's shooting has improved with the eye surgery, proven in sample size. Amir, is still Amir. Jonas could post up much bigger players now, and is only going to get better as the season progresses. The point guards for the bench, is the main issue. If they could carry the team if Lowry goes down to injury, or not.The bench has to stay consistent with their scoring (cough cough Terrence Ross). Argue with my predictions if you want, but this isn't 2K. If the chips fall where they may, this team could at best be a 6th seed. When this happens, you heard it here first.
Starting five: Lowry/Derozan/Gay/Johnson/Valanciunas
Starters overall grade: B
Overall offensive rating:9th
Overall defensive rating:13th
Bench overall grade: C+
Overall bench offensive rating:21st
Overall bench defensive rating:11th
Total offense rating:15th in the league
Total defense rating:12th in the league
Final Grades (once again) Grade
SG: Derozan/Ross/Daye B-
Overall grade: B-
Standings Prediction: 6th in the East
My projected win/loss record:45-37
Playoffs prediction: They will win 2 playoff games.
NBA East Predictions:
NBA West Predictions
My first long post on here. Let me know what you think. GO RAPS GO