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Toronto Raptors 2020-21 Roster – Evaluating the Offense and the Defense
The Toronto Raptors remained one of the top NBA teams in the East last season, despite losing Kawhi Leonard to the LA Clippers. The organization came up short in the playoffs but will be hoping for a better performance in the upcoming campaign.
In this post, I analyze the Raptors roster for the 2020-21 NBA season and share my thoughts on the strong and weak sides of the current group of players before finishing with a verdict on whether the franchise can challenge for the Eastern Conference title.
Complete Toronto Raptors Roster for 2020-21
Let’s begin with all the players who are part of the Toronto Raptors roster heading into the upcoming 2020-21 NBA season.
- Kyle Lowry
- Malachi Flynn
- Paul Watson
- Fred VanVleet
- Norman Powell
- Terence Davis
- Jalen Harris
- Patrick McCaw
- Matt Thomas
- OG Anunoby
- Stanley Johnson
- DeAndre Bembry
- Nate Sestina
- Pascal Siakam
- Oshae Brissett
- Alize Johnson
- Aron Baynes
- Chris Boucher
- Alex Len
The current Raptors group will be cut down to 15 players to comply with the NBA regulations. I expect to see some of the guards and forwards gone by the start of the campaign. With that in mind, let’s move on to the main strengths and weaknesses of Toronto’s roster.
Toronto Raptors Offense in 2020-21
Let’s begin with the offense of the Raptors. The starting lineup of the team should look like this in the upcoming campaign.
- Point guard: Kyle Lowry
- Shooting guard: Fred VanVleet
- Small forward: OG Anunoby
- Power forward: Pascal Siakam
- Center: Aron Baynes
That’s a very strong group of players, and four of them have been playing together for a while. Bringing back VanVleet keeps the backcourt partnership intact, so I expect a lot from him and Lowry. The duo can orchestrate the offense and score plenty of points.
OG Anunoby is a solid player who can do a lot of things offensively, while Siakam was a complete beast last season. The power forward struggled in the NBA Bubble but has vowed to return to his best. I expect a lot of him next year, so I’m confident he will be good.
The final piece in the starting lineup is Aron Baynes, who’s a very intelligent player that provides some spacing. He can certainly fit into the high-motion offense of head coach Nick Nurse and make up for the loss of Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol when it comes to the starting lineup.
The main issue with the departure of the two big men will be felt when the second unit is on the floor. I’m not sure that Alex Len and Chris Boucher could deliver enough offensively, but the other positions are covered.
One guy that deserves plenty of attention is Norman Powell. He was awesome last year, and I see him as a contender for the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award.
The rookie guard Malachi Flynn should provide some offense from the bench, too, while Patrick McCaw, Terence Davis II, and DeAndre Bembry are the other guys that will chip in.
The overall sensation is that the Raptors should have a well-rounded offense with plenty of weapons and a lot of ball movement. The big question is if it will translate into the offseason and if Pascal Siakam can be an effective number one option in the NBA Playoffs.
Toronto Raptors Defense in 2020-21
You could make a case that Toronto’s defense is the better side of the team’s game. The backcourt duo for Lowry and VanVleet can suffocate pretty much any opponent, and we saw clearly in last season’s playoffs.
The shooting guard is one of the best in the NBA when it comes to interceptions and steals, while Lowry is a phenomenal lockdown defender.
Anunoby and Siakam are also elite on that end, and the only starter that could struggle is Aron Baynes. He’s an average rim protector, and the reserve big men are not much better either.
Guarding the paint will be the most vulnerable spot in the Raptors defense, and some of the opponents could be a bad matchup because of that. Fortunately for the team, most of them are in the West, and Joel Embiid looks like the only big issue in the Easter Conference at this point.
I’m cautiously optimistic about this Toronto Raptors roster. Losing two valuable big men in the same offseason and getting only one to replace them might be a problem, especially on the defensive end of the floor for the Canadian franchise.
At the same time, the team kept most of its core intact, and several players have the potential to improve further. Anunoby and Powell could explode based on their recent trajectory, while Siakam can’t be worse than last year in the postseason.
If you are betting on the NBA Playoffs, you should certainly back the Raptors to get to the second round. Whether the team can go further depends mostly on Pascal Siakam’s performance. If the power forward can stay consistent, Toronto could go all the way in the 2020-21 NBA season.