Raptors retooled, however VanVleet says they’re nonetheless harmful


The Toronto Raptors aren’t in Toronto and may not be again there till subsequent season. Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, key elements of the staff that gained the 2019 NBA title, left the Raptors as free brokers in the course of the offseason. And Kyle Lowry, the staff’s undisputed chief, is nearer to the tip of his profession than the start.

Fred VanVleet is aware of all this.

He could not sound much less bothered.

”I believe we’re nonetheless harmful,” VanVleet stated.

They don’t seem to be the Tampa Raptors, they’re the Toronto Raptors, and till confirmed in any other case the staff believes that simply because their location has briefly modified due to the coronavirus pandemic – put merely, crossing the U.S.-Canada border is mainly unimaginable for non-essential causes as of late – there isn’t any motive for them to not count on to be primed for a deep playoff run as soon as once more.

”We’re nonetheless harmful and I knew that earlier than the season began,” stated VanVleet, who signed a four-year contract in the course of the offseason and has gone from undrafted to somebody now assured to make greater than $100 million in his NBA profession. ”I’ll miss these guys that aren’t right here, clearly, however we have new guys that we have to attempt to plug in and get them in control and proceed to do what we do. Our custom hasn’t left. Our character hasn’t left. Our basis hasn’t left. So, we have simply obtained to plug the brand new items in and see how it may roll.”

Lowry and VanVleet play effectively collectively so the backcourt is ok, and the Raptors consider Pascal Siakam will proceed on his path towards stardom. The additions of Aron Baynes and Alex Len will fill no less than a few of the gaps that Gasol and Ibaka’s departures created, and the Raptors are relying on extra progress from OG Anunoby as effectively.

”It may take some adapting and a few altering alongside the way in which,” VanVleet stated. ”However yearly, I am going to let you know guys the identical factor. I like our possibilities and this 12 months is not any totally different. It will simply look totally different.”

Another issues to know concerning the Raptors going into the season:


There’s an opportunity the Raptors may return to Toronto for the second half of the season. However it doesn’t matter what, they’re now assured to go a couple of full 12 months with out enjoying a recreation in Canada. The Raptors’ final 5 video games previous the coronavirus shutdown final season had been on the street; their final recreation in Toronto was Feb. 28. They then performed 19 video games within the bubble and the NBA has this season’s schedule completed for 37 video games by means of March 4, 2021 – so the Raptors are on what technically is, at minimal, a 61-game run away from Toronto.


The Raptors are the one staff to have reached 50 wins in every of the final 5 seasons; the 72-game schedule and non permanent relocation will make extending {that a} problem this season, however it must be famous that Toronto performed precisely 72 video games within the 2019-20 common season and nonetheless went 53-19. Greater than half the league’s groups – 16 of 30 – have not had even one 50-win season within the final 5 years.


Pascal Siakam freely admits that he did not benefit from the bubble expertise, and it confirmed in his stats. Within the pre-bubble portion of final season, Siakam averaged 23.6 factors and seven.5 rebounds on 46% capturing from the sphere and 80% from the road. At Disney, Siakam’s numbers fell to 16.9 factors and 6.8 rebounds on 39.5% capturing. The Raptors want pre-bubble Siakam again desperately this season, particularly with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka not with the membership.


Kyle Lowry enters this season 251 factors shy of becoming a member of DeMar DeRozan and Chris Bosh as the one gamers to attain 10,000 in a Toronto uniform; he is 526 shy of catching Bosh for No. 2 on that listing, and when he will get there he’ll be about 3,000 factors away from DeRozan’s staff mark. He is coming into his fifteenth season and turns 35 in March, however there isn’t any slowdown in his recreation but; final season he grew to become the twelfth participant in NBA historical past to common no less than 19 factors and be an All-Star in season No. 14 of a profession.


It must be famous that Nick Nurse’s first two seasons as an NBA head coach have in all probability exceeded any expectation the Raptors had once they gave him the job. He is a three-time coach of the month, the reigning coach of the 12 months, and his file – together with playoffs – is 134-55, a profitable proportion of .709.

Extra AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports activities



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