The 2017-18 NBA season is now on full blast. People from all around the world are again to make their predictions as to what this year would be for the teams. The Warriors are jam-packed with talent, while the Cavs are stronger than ever with an all-star-caliber team.
But this doesn’t mean that the season’s going to be all about them. Canada’s only team, the Toronto Raptors, is on the same page as these guys. But how will the season go for them? Let’s find out.
1. It’s going to be a mediocre year for the Raptors.
The world was left in shock when the Raptor’s precious assets slowly fled off the team. Terrence Ross is gone, Bismack Biyombo too, as well as Patrick Patterson. And it’s not just them! Cory Joseph also got traded, as well as P.J. Tucker and DeMarre Carrol.
The Raptors are torn apart, and now, it’s up to their “MVPs”, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan to carry the team. We all know that basketball’s a team game, and there’s no way that these two ballers are going to handle all things by themselves.
In other words, Toronto’s roster is reduced to nothing but these two all-stars and a couple of young bloods. With this, it would be easy to predict how the season will go for them — and it’ll be short of greatness.
It’ll be a very average year for them, and the post-season would depend on how they level up their game from mediocrity. It’s pretty likely they’ll finish the season with 41-41 stats, or close to it.
2. Jonas Valanciunas will get moved to the bench.
The 25-year-old Lithuanian is not the best when it comes to defense. And as a big man, that’s supposedly what he needs to be really good at. Averaging 11.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, it’s pretty clear that he’s not performing at his peak level.
And that's the reason why he might be demoted to the bench. But this doesn't mean he's short of talent. It's just that the bench needs a scorer, and he's a pretty good candidate to that. Don't remember that there are Nogueira and Poeltl who can serve as back up for the big man.
3. Lowry Goes Down, DeRozan Goes Up
Lowry is still 31-years-old and that’s not really a problem. But when you’re turning 32 and your game relies heavily on speed and jumping ability, then you're in for a rough ride. He's averaging 14.3 points and 5.8 assists per game last season. But let’s expect those figures to go down unless he shifts into prioritizing shooting over playmaking and drives to the rim.
But Lowry’s impending misfortune wouldn’t affect DeRozan’s performance this year. One of the 28-year-old shooting guard’s achievements last season is his seven 40-point games. And with bad teams popping up this year, it wouldn’t be a challenge for him to go beyond those records.
The Lakers are out of sync, Chicago’s lost Wade, and the Pacers and the Knicks are without Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. It would surely be an easy breezy for DeRozan to annihilate those teams with his own style of explosive game.
Will they Make it to the Playoffs?
The Raptors are nowhere near being called as a Finals-contender team. They currently have 40/1 odds to win the Finals and are on the 9th spot in the ladder. As usual, Curry and Durant’s Warriors are on top of the outright betting game with 4/6 odds to reign as a back-to-back champion.
Meanwhile, LeBron and Wade's Cavs sit at the second spot with 9/2 odds, followed by Harden's Rockets with 9/1 odds. The Raptors need to overtake Kyrie Irving and the Celtics, as well as the new OKC Thunder, to have a shot at success. But this doesn't mean that they won't dominate the playoffs.
Pundits and basketball analysts both agree that it’s not impossible for them to dominate post-season. Canadian bookmakers providing NBA betting odds are giving the Raptors a 1/6 betting odd to enter the playoffs; while 9/2 underdog odds are on them to get dropped off after the season.
Whichever the case is, the Raptors will be a pretty good team this year. But their greatness is confined only to two star players, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.