27-43 • 12th in EASTERN CONFERENCE
|C-F||34||N/A||6' 10"||260 lbs||WASHINGTON STATE|
|F-C||28||N/A||6' 9"||200 lbs||OREGON|
|G-F||26||N/A||6' 5"||210 lbs||SAINT JOSEPH'S|
|G||27||N/A||6' 1"||197 lbs||WICHITA STATE|
|F||23||N/A||6' 9"||245 lbs||BAYLOR|
|G-F||22||N/A||6' 5"||209 lbs||DUKE|
|G||22||N/A||6' 5"||195 lbs||NEVADA|
|C||28||N/A||6' 9"||233 lbs||UNLV|
|G||35||N/A||6' 0"||196 lbs||VILLANOVA|
|G||23||N/A||6' 1"||175 lbs||SAN DIEGO STATE|
|F||23||N/A||6' 7"||232 lbs||INDIANA|
|F||27||N/A||6' 9"||230 lbs||NEW MEXICO STATE|
|G||26||N/A||6' 6"||210 lbs||FRESNO STATE|
|G-F||28||N/A||6' 8"||208 lbs||DUKE|
|F-G||24||N/A||6' 6"||242 lbs||ARIZONA|
|G-F||26||N/A||6' 9"||215 lbs||GEORGE WASHINGTON|
Following their fairytale-like championship run in 2019, a second-round playoff exit in 2020 was an undeniably bitter end to the Toronto Raptors' 2019-20 season. As such, the team made a number of significant additions to their squad during the offseason.
With the likes of Marc Gasol, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Serge Ibaka all leaving Toronto via free agency, the Raptors needed reinforcements. They came in the form of Aron Baynes, who emerged as one of the most sought-after names in the market, who signed on a two-year deal worth $14.4 million.
Toronto also brought on DeAndre' Bembry (two years, $3.7 million) and Alex Len (one year, $2.3 million), who the Raptors decided to waive in January.
The 2019 NBA champs also drafted a couple of rookies in Malachi Flynn (29th) and Jalen Harris (59th).
The Raptors' most significant offseason transactions came in the form of a couple of contract extensions. Fred VanVleet, who has established himself as one of Toronto's most important players, was rewarded with a massive four-year extension worth $85 million. The Raptors also brought back the highly-promising Chris Boucher on a two-year, $13.5 million deal.
In December, Toronto also decided to extend the deal of 6-foot-7 wing OG Anunoby to the tune of $72 million for four years.
The Raptors enter the 2020-21 season with All-Star forward Pascal Siakam remaining at the helm. Veteran point guard Kyle Lowry joins him in the starting five, along with VanVleet, Anunoby, and Baynes.
Toronto's key players coming off the bench are Norman Powell, Boucher, Stanley Johnson, and Terence Davis.
After losing their top player and scorer Kawhi Leonard in the 2019 offseason, it was always going to be a struggle for the 2019-2020 Raptors offensively. But, their remaining core found ways to step up and help boost Toronto's offense. Pascal Siakam took charge and led the team with an average of 22.9 points per game, which was six points higher than the previous year. Kyle Lowry also had to increase his scoring averages to help the squad's offense, as well as Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, and OG Anunoby. These Raptors helped the team net an offensive rating of 110.8 (13th), which was good enough to complement their highly-rated defense.
Siakam was the team's focal point on the offensive end, as the forward stepped up big for the Raptors. After winning the league's Most Improved Player Award in 2019, the Cameroonian knew he had to further upgrade his game if the Raptors had a chance at repeating as champions. Aside from a better scoring season, Siakam also increased his assists and rebounding numbers as well as his total field goal attempts. His 2019-2020 campaign was so good that he even had an outside chance of winning back-to-back MIPs. Unfortunately, Siakam struggled after the NBA restart and the rest of the squad couldn't really get it going in the playoffs. Still, they were able to make it all the way to the second round of the playoffs and force a Game 7 against the Boston Celtics.
Another aspect of the Raptors' offense worth noting was their three point shooting. Siakam, along with Lowry, VanVleet, and Powell all ended up knocking down a pair of three-pointers each per contest, which helped the team rank third with 13.8 three-pointers made per game while shooting an efficient 37.4% (5th).
The Toronto Raptors were one of the best defensive teams in the NBA last season with an offensive rating of 104.7, which ranked second-best in the NBA. They were a few points short of the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks, but they did finish ahead of eventual 2020 NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. Given the greatest of these two teams they're sandwiched between, it’s clear that the Raptors’ defense was elite last season. They held their opponents to a league-best of 106.5 points per game and were second in the league in terms of steals per game (8.8).
Even though they parted ways with one of the league's best defenders in Kawhi Leonard (and Danny Green) after his one-and-done year in Toronto, the Raptors found ways to put on their hardhats and get to work. The Raptors absolutely suffocated their opponents last season with their length, switching, and discipline. They've been known to switch things up, throwing in a peculiar zone defense or a full-court press at any point of the game, which made them pretty dangerous and rather effective. Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet pressured the opposition up top and lengthy forwards like Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby bothered attacks to the paint. When players managed to get past those two waves, they still had to deal with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka waiting to just swat the shot away. Both Gasol and Ibaka will be missed on the defensive end in 2020-21.
Perhaps the best part of the Raptors’ defense is the fact that nobody on the roster stood out above the rest. They had no candidates for the NBA All-Defensive Team despite having one of the league's best defenses. It was a system that Nick Nurse masterfully built, and everyone on the roster bought in. No matter who was on the floor, the intensity on the defensive end never died down.
Nick Nurse has had one of the most successful coaching tenures in recent NBA history. He won a championship in his first season as the Raptors' head coach and followed that up with a Coach of the Year Award in 2019-20. After two seasons, he recorded an impressive 110-43 win-loss record (.718) in the regular season and 23-14 (.657) in the postseason. Talk about having a storied career just two seasons in.
Nurse has been known to chalk up unorthodox schemes, which have worked wonders for Toronto. As soon as he stepped in as the head tactician, he got the team to buy in onthis gritty mentality, and it has certainly paid off. Last season, Nurse built the league's second-best defense and helped the Raptors claim the second-best regular season record for the second year in the row. Although they failed to defend their 2019 crown, the team still managed to compete and exceed expectations.
To fill in their front court with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka gone, the Raptors picked up Alize Johnson and Yuta Watanabe from the waiver wire.
A former member of the Memphis Grizzlies, Watanabe can provide an extra option for head coach Nick Nurse. Johnson was waived prior to the season beginning.
The last major signing for the Raptors were Aron Baynes and Alex Lin.
After losing both Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol, who both went to LA (Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively), the Raptors needed to fill in the huge hole in their frontcourt. They added Aron Baynes from the Phoenix Suns, who will potentially be starting for them, as well as a back-up big in Alex Len from the Sacramento Kings. Although Baynes and Len aren't as prolific as Ibaka and Gasol, these two were the best options available for the Raptors during the transfer window.
Instead of picking up huge names, the Raptors chose to focus on prioritizing their core with Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet - Toronto's current big three in terms of their salaries. They also re-signed Chris Boucher, who is a promising candidate for some decent playing time this season. All of these moves suggest that the Raptors are happy to develop their core and hopefully improve on last season's second-round playoff exit.
After signing Baynes and Len, the Raptors had little to no choice but to settle with smaller names like Alize Johnson and Yuta Watanabe, who they both picked up as free agents. Johnson was waived prior to the regular season.
The 2019-20 season was rather silent in terms of trade talks, which means that the most recent trade made by the Raptors was back at the 2019 trade deadline when they acquired Marc Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies for a package headlined by C.J. Miles, Jonas Valančiūnas, Delon Wright. Gasol played a vital role on the Raptors’ championship run that season.
The award for the best Toronto Raptors roster would have to go to the 2019 NBA champions. The 2018-2019 Toronto Raptors were one of the most complete rosters the franchise has ever put together, and they have President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri to thank for it.
Everyone had doubts when Ujiri decided to move on from DeMar DeRozan and bring in Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green from the San Antonio Spurs. But once things got rolling, it became clear it was the best move in their short franchise history.
First-year head coach Nick Nurse stepped in and made all of the pieces work together perfectly. Leonard and Green thrived in Nurse's defensive system and helped the rest of the core get to the next level. Kyle Lowry emerged as one of the main leaders of the team and a young Pascal Siakam also broke out. Ujiri made one last move before the playoffs, completing their championship unit when he opted to trade a few pieces of the Raptors’ lineup to acquire Marc Gasol.
After a few jittery moments to start the 2019 playoffs, the Raps took care of business against the Orlando Magic in the first round and moved on to face a highly-touted Philadelphia 76ers team. This series went all the way down to the final milliseconds of Game 7 when Leonard ended up making one of the biggest shots in franchise history to push them to the ECF. From there, it seemed that no challenge could stop the Raptors from achieving their ultimate goal. They fell 0-2 against the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, but won four consecutive games to move on to the NBA Finals. In the Finals, they dethroned the Golden State Warriors in six games to bring home their first NBA title to Toronto.
The Toronto Raptors' current Salary Cap for the 2020-21 season is $130,516,066 (via Spotrac), which exceeds the league's $109 million salary cap max. The team is paying the big bucks to three members of the starting unit, with Pascal Siakam ($30 million), Kyle Lowry ($30 million) and Fred VanVleet ($21 million) accounting for around 60% of their total cap space.
Norman Powell was the first man off Nick Nurse's bench last season. Though the 27-year old has been forced to start a lot of games for the Raps as well, he was a key weapon off the bench and has solidified his importance in Toronto's lineup. Powell provides energy and shooting off the bench and has been a huge help for the Raps' starting unit when they need a breather.
Powell had a career year last season with 16 points per game while shooting at an efficient 49.5% shooting clip and knocking down 2.1 threes per game. Powell ended up starting 26 games in the regular season and had key contributions off the bench in the playoffs. When he ended up starting, it was Serge Ibaka filling in as the main 6th man of the squad.
Powell figures to be the Raptors’ primary 6th man once again in 2020-21.
The Raptors switched things up quite a few times when it came to their starting lineup last season, but the five they started most games with was arguably their strongest starting unit. They had Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet in the backcourt, OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam on the wings, and finally Marc Gasol manning the paint. With Gasol in Los Angeles in 2020-21, Aron Baynes figures to start in his place with the other four.