I wrap up my first week of 30 team previews across the league (so far at 10) with the NBA Team Trigger articles.
Last Season: 49-33 (49.5 projected wins) and 4th seed (lost to Washington in 4 games)
Key Additions: DeMarre Carroll, Bismack Biyombo, Cory Joseph, Luis Scola
Key Losses: Amir Johnson, Greivis Vasquez
2015-16 Vegas: 45.5 projected wins and 75:1 odds to win NBA Championship
The Raptors are an under-the-radar team, or at least they were last season for many fans (not for Vegas). They surprised me out of nowhere in the regular season, and then they falter completely in the first round against the Wizards, getting swept. Toronto finally has some hope after losing stars like Vince Carter and Chris Bosh, they seem to have something in Kyle Lowry and Jonas Whatshisface (Valanciunas).
Much like their former season, the Raptors had an under-the-radar offseason. The big addition is DeMarre Carroll, who is also a big question mark. Around sports, many players who break out one season with a team and then get a big contract, more often than not, they underperform and prove not to be worthy of the high dollar. Jeremy Lin comes to mind, if we’re looking for a relevant poster child for such. Carroll needs to bring the same defensive presence to the table in Toronto, knowing he can rely on Lowry and DeRozan on the scoring load.
Biyombo and Scola are good, I suppose. Those two forwards have been quite underwhelming recently. Since entering the league in 2011, Biyombo averages 4.4 points per game, 6.1 rebounds, producing 21 minutes. In that time frame, Scola’s been on three different teams (Houston, Phoenix, Indiana). The one good thing about Scola, is his durability, where his least amount of games played was 66 back in ’11 with the Rockets. I mention these two, because they’ll have to replace the underrated void that Amir Johnson leaves. Amir has been reliable to play in games, while averaging 9.2 PPG and 6.7 RPG in this four year trend.
Just to note, I think Cory Joseph brings something Greivis Vasquez couldn’t bring, and that’s a championship mentality. Joseph was a valuable piece for the Spurs deep playoff runs, including an NBA Championship. I believe that speaks for something, and it’s an upgrade for Lowry’s backup.
I’d be crazy to not believe the projected wins, as it was spot on last season. This all depends on Carroll and if he can be for the Raptors as he was for the Atlanta Hawks and their tremendous outbreak last year. If Carroll can do this, I see this team winning 50 games. If, however, Carroll falters, then I visualize that being a ten game difference.
What do you think the Raptors can do this season? Let me know in the comments below your expectations!