The Raptors are back and are looking to start the season off right with a preseason victory over the Los Angeles Clippers! Here’s the rundown for tonight’s game that will be on at 10:00 PM:
Toronto is still trying to figure out which players are going to get the final spot on the roster. Players like Kennedy Meeks, Alfonzo Mckinnie, Kyle Witijer, Lorenzo Brown, Andy Rautins, and Malcom Miller are all fighting for the final roster spot. Players that have been impressive so far in the scrimmages have been Kyle Witijer and Kennedy Meeks. Toronto already has 14 players coming back and with the Raptors looking to upgrade their 3 point shooting and floor spacing it seems that Kyle Witijer is most likely going to get the final spot but that has yet to been announced.
This will be the first time we get to see the new look Raptor offense against another team. Masai Ujiri said that Toronto was going to change up their style of play for this upcoming season after their ISO offense got exploited by the Bucks and Cavaliers in the playoffs. Be prepared for the Raptors to be moving the ball around a lot more as they try to build on their new game plan.
With the Raptors trading away Cory Joseph and Demarre Carroll, the team has some vacant minutes in the rotation. It appears right now that players like Delon Wright and Norman Powell are going to go from being players that get inconsistent minutes to 20-25 minutes a game players. It’ll be fun to watch those guys tonight as they will probably be playing a lot more than they used to.
With the Raptors new style of ball movement and floor spacing this means that Jonas Valanciunas has to either change his game entirely or be ok with coming off the bench. Other teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and the Cleveland Cavaliers have already adopted this method of sending their starting center to the bench and moving their power forward to the center spot. However, Jonas has apparently worked on his 3 point shooting and if he can get his range to the point where teams have to guard him from the arc then he could be a huge piece for this team. Keep a close eye on Valanciunas tonight.
With Serge Ibaka having some months to get acclimated to the team, we will see if that will improve his overall performance with the Raptors. Serge’s defense will be tested tonight as he is going up against one of the best power forwards in the game tonight, (Blake Griffin). On the other hand though, Serge should have a field day on the offensive end as Blake Griffin isn’t a quick defender and Serge can shoot three pointers at a very high clip, (over 40% from 3 last year.) Watch Serge Ibaka and how he blends with the team tonight.
And lastly, watch Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan. This new offense is either going to severely help or hurt these 2 players the most as they are both so used to getting multiple isolation plays for both of them every game. Demar DeRozan has substantially upgraded his 3 point shot this summer, which should help Toronto when it comes to floor spacing. Kyle Lowry has slimmed down and looks better than ever. This could be the best year this duo has ever been. It all depends on this new offense. If Dwayne Casey is smart he will still run some isolation plays here or there for Lowry and DeRozan as they are terrific ISO scorers. But overall, we should see more ball movement and it will be interesting to see how these 2 all-stars react to it.
The game is tonight at 10:00 Eastern time and 7:00 pacific time. It is being played in Hawaii. It should be fun to see these 2 teams go head to head as both have made big roster changes this summer. Anyways, let’s go Raptors!