A look at the Raptors in the offseason
Coming off a Franchise record of 49 games won in the regular season and a 4th place seed in the playoffs, the Toronto Raptors were looking to finally make a decent playoff run by advancing to the second round for the first time in 14 years. That dream was destroyed when the Washington Wizards swept the team 4 – 0. After another disappointing first round exit, fans were understandably distraught, and wondered how the team could recover.
Fast forward two months later – changes have begun. Fan favourites Greivis Vásquez, Amir Johnson, and Lou Williams left the team through trades and free agency. While some may have seen this as a loss, it freed Raps up freed up cap space. Besides, Amir and Lou could not be counted on on a regular basis. As a result, Bismack Biyombo and DeMarre Corroll were signed, the latter of which they required a hefty salary. But with these additions came great benefits.
DeMarre Corroll is a small forward with an incredible offensive game. After helping the Atlanta Hawks reach the conference finals last season, and shooing almost 40% from behind the 3-point line, there is no doubt that his four-year, $60 million signing will be justified. Bismack Biyombo on the other hand, has a horrible offensive game, but is extraordinary on the defensive end; a problem the Raptors struggled with, ranking 23rd defensively last season. At 22 years old, 6’9” and a wingspan of 7’6”, Bismack is a young, quick, and strong defender, who can also protect the rim. His agility, speed and length are all great contributing factors, to limit the opponent’s offensive game.
The summer is not yet over. Many changes can be made, as well as throughout the season, so there are still ways in which the Raptors can add to the team. The Raptors have also declined to extend offers to the other free agents on the team like Landry Fields, Tyler Hansbrough and Chuck Hayes, all leading them to sign with other team. Even with all these changes to the roster, the Toronto Raptors look like they are on a great path. All we can hope for is to make a good push when the playoffs roll around, and give DeMar DeRozan a reason to stay at the end of next season. Believe in Masai!