May 10, 2023, 1:07 pm
The Raptors faced increased expectations after a strong run post all-star break the previous season. A top-6 finish in the Eastern Conference was the goal for the year, as the team was coming into the season with the same core of players. The front office added Otto Porter Jr. to the mix in free agency, fresh off a title with the Warriors. Internal growth, especially from Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes, plus strong familiarity among players and coaches had the Raptors hoping for an opportunity to upset an Eastern Conference powerhouse in the first round of the playoffs. Could the Raptors take another step in the right direction and start establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with?
How’d It Go?
The Raptors ended up taking a step backwards in 2022-23, failing to make the playoffs for only the second time since 2014. The team lost in the Play-In tournament vs. DeMar Derozan and the Bulls to finish off a tumultuous season. After starting the year with a record of 20-27, the team was able to turn the ship around to some extent and end the season with a .500 record. A big reason for the turnaround was the mid-season acquisition of big man Jakob Poeltl from the Spurs.
All year long, the Raptors were surrounded by trade rumors. Two of their core players, starting PG Fred VanVleet as well as Gary Trent Jr., were in the last year of their deals. As losses started to mount up, questions started to arise whether the Raptors would be willing to make moves by giving up established players for younger players and draft capital in order to start focusing on future seasons.
The constant question marks regarding players’ futures on the team made it difficult for head coach Nick Nurse to manage the locker room. Nurse was not afraid to publicly call out his players’ lack of effort on multiple occasions.The disappointing result of the season led to the dismissal of Nurse. After 5 seasons as the head coach, Masai Ujiri will look to bring in a fresh voice to the locker room in order to move the needle in the right direction again.
One of the Raptors’ biggest problems was the construction of their roster. The team was loaded with forwards, lacking depth at the guard positions as well as a true center option to start the year. Free Agency acquisition Otto Porter Jr. was only able to play in eight games before having to undergo season-ending surgery on his toe. The roster imbalance lead to starters having to play heavy minutes on a nightly basis. Four Raptors players ended the season ranking inside the top-30 in minutes per game.
In addition to that, the lack of shooting on the roster really became apparent, with the Raptors finishing 28th in 3PT% at 33.5%.
The franchise is now faced with multiple core players, including new acquisition Jakob Poeltl, being free agents this upcoming summer. Whether they will be able to retain most of their free agents will play a big role in how the team will look like for the upcoming season. On an individual basis, there were also some positives for the organization. Pascal Siakam was named an All-Star again and reached career-highs in both points and assists per game on the season, while O.G. Anunoby led the league in steals.
Scottie Barnes did not make the big leap a lot of people around the organization were expecting of him, but showed improvements in his game during the second half of the season.
The final season as the Raptors head coach was most likely the most difficult one for Nick Nurse. The Raptors surprised a lot of teams the previous season with their aggressive defensive schemes, focused on putting constant pressure on their opponents in order to force turnovers. Their ability to play lineups that were forward/wing heavy, with defensively versatile and switchable players, allowed the Raptors to thrive with a very aggressive style of play. However, this season, opponents knew what to expect and made the necessary adjustments in order to exploit the weaknesses of playing with such lineups.
The Raptors still found success with their lineups in certain departments of the game. For example, the team ranked first in steals per game on the season at 9.4 per game.
The team also ranked third in ORB% for the year. They tried to win the battle of possessions, and though they often did it was all for naught.
The Raptors found themselves with more shot attempts than their opponents on most nights, but were unable to make those extra opportunities count. The team ranked 27th in FG% on the season and 28th in 3PT% as previously mentioned.
The lack of shooting on the roster outside of Fred VanVleet, O.G. Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. led to spacing issues on the offensive end. Offensive droughts were common and when the Raptors would start struggling offensively, it would lead to a lot of iso-play and lack of ball movement. The Raptors ranked only 23rd in assists per game on the season.
Nurse relied heavily on his starters, and younger players such as Precious Achiuwa, Malachi Flynn and Dalano Banton did not get consistent run all season to help develop their games. Nurse did not trust his bench and would play his starters as much as he could in order to win games and meet expectations. Considering how taxing the playing style Nurse implemented can be on players due to its intensity, it was not surprising to see certain players like Pascal Siakam or Anunoby show signs of fatigue as the season was coming to its end. Nurse did not do a good enough job at finding minutes for his bench players to better balance out the minutes across the roster. It felt like his refusal to play guys that the front office chose for him, like Flynn and Thad Young, was an open protest about the players he had been given.
The incoming head coach will most likely make significant changes to how the Raptors have been playing the last couple of years. Finding a better balance to avoid burning out players and finding ways to help develop players at the end of the roster will be important. Another important aspect will be finding ways to maximize the potential of Scottie Barnes.
The PlayersPascal SiakamPF, Toronto Raptors
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 TOR 71 71 37.4 8.9 18.5 48.0 5.2 6.7 77.4 1.3 4.0 32.4 24.2 7.8 5.8 0.9 0.5 2.4 21-22 TOR 68 68 37.9 8.8 17.8 49.4 4.2 5.6 74.9 1.1 3.2 34.4 22.8 8.5 5.3 1.3 0.6 2.7 20-21 TOR 56 56 35.8 7.8 17.2 45.5 4.4 5.4 82.7 1.3 4.4 29.7 21.4 7.2 4.5 1.1 0.7 2.3
ADP: 20/28 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 35/39 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 45/44 (8/9-cat)
Siakam’s season will not receive as much praise as it might deserve to because of the Raptors underperforming as a team. He was on fire at the start of the season, averaging 28.3 points per game in the month of December, including dropping a career-high 52 points at MSG. Siakam eventually cooled down as the season went along, but was ultimately selected as an injury replacement to the All-Star game.
The heavy minutes eventually caught up with Siakam, who averaged 37.4 minutes per game. His worst stretch of the season came in March, when he averaged 19.9 points per game on bad shooting splits of 46% from the field and just 25.9 from three in 14 games.
Fantasy managers in dynasty leagues with Siakam should keep an eye on his free throw shooting moving forward. While his attempts per game have gradually increased each year off his career, his percentages have fluctuated — perhaps because of fatigue as he’s been run into the ground towards the end of the year. It seems likely that Siakam will remain a focal point for the Raptors offensively next season, which should result in him getting to the line a fair amount. It would be a boost for his fantasy rankings if he is able to become more consistent from the free throw line.Fred VanVleetPG, Toronto Raptors
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 TOR 69 69 36.7 6.3 16.1 39.3 3.7 4.1 89.8 3.0 8.8 34.2 19.3 4.1 7.2 1.8 0.6 2.0 21-22 TOR 67 65 36.7 6.6 16.4 40.3 2.9 3.3 87.4 3.6 9.6 37.7 19.7 4.3 6.5 1.7 0.5 2.5 20-21 TOR 52 52 36.5 6.5 16.7 38.9 3.3 3.7 88.5 3.3 9.2 36.6 19.6 4.2 6.3 1.7 0.7 1.8
ADP: 40/26 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 11/14 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 22/18 (8/9-cat)
VanVleet had the worst shooting season of his career in 2022-23. While his FGA per game remained at 16 per game, his percentages both overall from the field as well as from beyond the arc dropped compared to the previous season.
VanVleet was able to maintain strong fantasy value because of the fact that he can contribute effectively in multiple categories;h e averaged a career-high 7.2 assists per game, and was still one of the best in the league in steals with 1.8 per game on the season. Still, his fantasy game is more suited for teams punting FG%, especially considering the high volume of shots VanVleet takes. That said, the fact that he can comfortably finish as a second-round value despite a huge drag on efficiency speaks to his quality as a fantasy option. The only player of his skill set on this roster, VanVleet was handed a heavy burden and did the best he could under the circumstances.
VanVleet is a free agent this summer and should have a number of suitors. If he signs with another team it will be intriguing to see if he ends up in a more off-ball role than his current one in Toronto. This could help his percentages moving forward, though that might not be worth the potential dip in volume stats.Scottie BarnesSF, Toronto Raptors
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 TOR 77 76 34.8 6.0 13.2 45.6 2.5 3.2 77.2 0.8 2.9 28.1 15.3 6.6 4.8 1.1 0.8 2.0 21-22 TOR 73 73 35.6 6.2 12.7 49.2 2.2 2.9 73.5 0.8 2.6 29.8 15.4 7.6 3.4 1.1 0.8 1.8
ADP: 36/44 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 50/50 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 74/85 (8/9-cat)
All of Barnes’ percentages dropped across the board in 2022-23 besides his free throw shooting, which improved from 73.5% to 77.2% on the season. He was asked to play as the de facto center in small ball lineups at times early on in the season. He would be tasked with settings screens but would rarely be the direct beneficiary of his own work on that end. For many stretches, Barnes was an afterthought in the Raptors offense.
Barnes was struggling, and reports were circulating that were questioning his work ethic during the offseason. He showed no improvement in his jumper at all during the season, and struggled defensively to stay in front of his matchups. He did show flashes of what make him an intriguing player for the future, but it was not a linear step after a fantastic rookie campaign.
His assist percentage jumped from 14.7% to 20%, while his turnover percentage barely increased compared to his rookie season, and seemed to thrive when he was operating as a playmaker. The problem is that Barnes didn’t quite have the quickness to become a major threat in terms of dribble penetration — nobody outside of VanVleet could handle that anyway — which slowed the offense down and led to lots of bailout shots late in the clock.
Barnes was drafted too early in many fantasy drafts prior to this season due to the hype around him, but still showed promise in his second season. It will be intriguing to monitor how his rule will change under a different head coach moving forward.OG AnunobySF, Toronto Raptors
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 TOR 67 67 35.6 6.3 13.2 47.6 2.1 2.5 83.8 2.1 5.5 38.7 16.8 5.0 2.0 1.9 0.7 2.0 21-22 TOR 47 47 36.2 6.5 14.6 44.5 1.9 2.5 75.0 2.4 6.6 36.9 17.3 5.4 2.6 1.5 0.5 1.6 20-21 TOR 43 43 33.3 5.8 12.1 48.0 1.9 2.4 78.4 2.4 6.1 39.8 15.9 5.5 2.2 1.5 0.7 1.7
ADP: 95/61 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 36/29 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 32/29 (8/9-cat)
The fact Anunoby only played 43 and 48 games in the last couple of seasons scared away many fantasy managers on draft day, but thankfully for fantasy managers who did draft Anunoby, he was able to stay relatively healthy in 2022-23. He played 67 games and led the leagues in total steals on the year.
He also showed improvements to other areas in his game during the season. His 3PT% improved to an impressive 38.7 on 5.5 attempts per game compared to the previous year, and it looked like he was eager to take on a larger role. After many offseason rumors about him wanting a trade or a starring role, he was able to prove that he could handle some time as a primary scoring option. He was held through the deadline, with the Raptors’ sky-high asking price going unmet on the market, though wanting to hold onto an affordable, All-Defense wing who continues to improve offensively is also a reasonable choice.
He can still be inconsistent at times, but Anunoby has all the tools to be a strong fantasy player for the foreseeable future. The question with him has always been whether he will eventually take on a bigger role offensively for the Raptors. The new head coach could potentially unlock that for him. Regardless, Anunoby was one of the better selections taken past round 5 in fantasy drafts this past year.Gary Trent Jr.SG, Toronto Raptors
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 TOR 66 44 32.1 6.1 14.2 43.3 2.6 3.1 83.9 2.5 6.8 36.9 17.4 2.6 1.6 1.6 0.2 0.8 21-22 TOR 69 67 35.0 6.4 15.5 41.3 2.5 3.0 85.3 3.0 7.8 38.4 18.3 2.7 2.0 1.8 0.3 1.0 20-21 TOR 58 38 31.1 5.5 13.5 40.8 1.4 1.8 78.3 2.8 7.4 38.5 15.3 2.6 1.4 1.0 0.2 0.7
ADP: 108/88 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 96/69 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 101/66 (8/9-cat)
Trent was caught in the middle whenever the Raptors made changes to their starting unit in order to go bigger against certain matchups before Jakob Poeltl arrived. He altered between stretches of starting and coming off the bench multiple times during the season. He was even called out by Nick Nurse in public once for his struggles early on.
Despite his role changing on more than one occasion, Trent was able to have a solid season overall. He ranked inside the top-100 on the season in both 8 and 9-cat formats. He did show improvements getting to the basket with more frequency. His 2PT% improved quite substantially compared to his previous season, going from 44.5% to 49.3%, but his decline in 3-point production was more impactful.
Trent is another player who was not moved at the deadline, and although his mid-range scoring and shoot-first attitude made him different and necessary for this roster, he may be moving on. Even if he ends up on another team this offseason, Trent’s fantasy game is very dependent on his production from the 3-point line and his ability to produce steals. His all-around game still has a lot to desire, which limits his overall fantasy upside, but being a middle-round option in 9-cat is pretty good for such narrow production.Jakob PoeltlC, Toronto Raptors
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 TOR 72 71 26.5 5.4 8.6 62.9 1.7 2.8 59.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 12.5 9.1 2.7 0.9 1.2 1.7 21-22 SA 67 66 29.0 6.0 9.7 62.0 1.4 2.8 49.5 0.0 0.0 100.0 13.5 9.3 2.8 0.7 1.7 1.6 20-21 SA 69 51 26.7 3.8 6.2 61.6 0.9 1.8 50.8 0.0 0.0 0.0 8.6 7.9 1.9 0.7 1.8 1.2
ADP: 61/71 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 63/64 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 70/69 (8/9-cat)
Poeltl returned to the team that originally drafted him via trade on February 9th, 2023. The Raptors were in desperate need of a center that could offer rim protection on defense, as too many pre-Poeltl possessions resulted in endless switches that would end with layups if the team couldn’t produce a steal; the Raptors did a good job on the perimeter but one mistake meant the ball would head to the paint with no threat at the rim. Poeltl immediately took over the starting center position and played an important role in the Raptors finishing the season on a strong note and qualifying for the Play-In tournament.
It was apparent right away that Poeltl still had on-court chemistry with former teammates such as Pascal Siakam or Fred VanVleet. Poeltl provides a rim-running presence on the team and someone who can move the ball. He has good court vision for a big man when he is out there, and can provide an interior presence defensively.
Poeltl was a win for fantasy managers who were able to hold onto him past the trade deadline or acquire him at a discount. He put up solid numbers as a starter on the Raptors, no surprise after he did the same thing in San Antonio. The one area in his game which needs significant improvement is his shooting from the line, but managers who punted the category got a fantastic season aside from the few weeks before the deadline when the Spurs limited his minutes.
Ujiri has talked up Poeltl since re-acquiring him and it would be surprising if both parties cannot find an agreement during the summer. This roster badly needs a rim protector, the team likes Poeltl and Poeltl likes the team. Seems simple enough.Chris BoucherPF, Toronto Raptors
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 TOR 76 0 20.0 3.4 7.0 49.3 1.7 2.2 76.2 0.8 2.5 32.8 9.4 5.5 0.4 0.6 0.8 0.5 21-22 TOR 79 10 21.0 3.3 7.1 46.5 1.8 2.4 77.4 0.8 2.8 29.3 9.3 6.2 0.3 0.6 0.9 0.5 20-21 TOR 60 14 24.2 4.8 9.3 51.4 2.5 3.2 78.8 1.5 3.9 38.3 13.6 6.7 1.1 0.6 1.9 0.8
ADP: 121/137 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 152/117 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 185/155 (8/9-cat)
Boucher was once one of the hottest pickups from the waiver wire during the 2020-21 season whenever the Raptors were shorthanded. Boucher possesses great per-minute upside from a fantasy perspective, due to his ability to rack up contributions in multiple categories.
Unfortunately, his numbers have dropped since that year, despite playing a similar amount of minutes per game. An example of this is his block percentage, with Boucher dropping to a career-low 4.1 % this past season. In 2020-21, he posted 7.6%.
Nurse was not happy with Boucher’s shot selection and defensive lapses at times, and was not afraid to take him out of games due to making mistakes. That’s always been the story with Boucher and to his credit, he has continually improved as an on-court option. Unfortunately, sometimes making the smart play deprives Boucher the opportunity to grab blocks or hit 3-pointers. Staying on the court is more important than maximizing his statistical output, but it’s that tug of war that makes Boucher frustrating for fantasy purposes.
The logjam at the forward positions on the roster was also not helping Boucher this year. Nurse had more than enough options to go to somebody else whenever Boucher did not have it on any given night. Rookie Christian Koloko was eating into his minutes during the season when he was not playing in the G League.Precious AchiuwaPF, Toronto Raptors
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 TOR 55 12 20.7 3.6 7.3 48.5 1.6 2.3 70.2 0.5 2.0 26.9 9.2 6.0 0.9 0.6 0.5 1.1 21-22 TOR 72 28 23.6 3.6 8.2 44.2 1.1 1.8 59.5 0.8 2.1 36.4 9.1 6.5 1.1 0.5 0.6 1.2 20-21 MIA 60 3 11.6 1.9 3.5 53.8 0.9 1.7 51.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 4.7 3.3 0.5 0.3 0.5 0.7
ADP: 140/138 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 152/117 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 249/246 (8/9-cat)
Achiuwa showed great flashes at the end of last season and in Round 1 vs. the Sixers. He is a strong defender with good lateral movement that can guard multiple positions. He will rebound the basketball at a high rate and can rack up blocks and steals, and has the ability to make the occasional 3-pointer as well. There was some hope that Achiuwa would see a bigger role this season and could provide streaming value in fantasy leagues.
Unfortunately, Achiuwa suffered a significant ankle injury in November, which derailed his season. He was out for more than two months and never truly found his rhythm again. His 3PT% dropped significantly compared to the previous season. His best stretch of the year was when he was starting at center with the Raptors shorthanded prior to the the trade deadline. As soon as Poeltl arrived, Achiuwa saw his minutes decrease to the point he started getting DNP-CDs. There are still a lot of attributes to like long-term, but Achiuwa’s inability to grab hold of a job on a team that needed major help at center is of concern.Otto Porter Jr.SF, Toronto Raptors
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 TOR 8 2 18.3 1.9 3.8 50.0 1.0 1.0 100.0 0.8 2.1 35.3 5.5 2.4 1.0 1.4 0.0 0.5 21-22 GS 63 15 22.2 3.1 6.6 46.4 0.8 1.0 80.3 1.3 3.4 37.0 8.2 5.7 1.5 1.1 0.5 0.6 20-21 ORL 28 6 21.7 3.5 8.1 43.2 1.3 1.5 85.7 1.4 3.7 37.5 9.7 5.4 2.0 0.6 0.1 0.9
ADP: 140/137 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 431/417 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 201/417 (8/9-cat)
Porter was the most important signing the front office made in the 2022 offseason. He was coming off helping the Warriors win a championship in the finals vs. the Celtics and was slated to have a solid role coming off the bench for the Raptors. It was a good fit on-paper, as Porter is another long, switchable forward, only a proven 3-point threat who was comfortable playing off the ball and doing his work in the flow of the game. A sturdy stat set and the hope of an increased role put him on the radar for fantasy managers in deeper formats.
His season was short-lived as he battled injury early in the season and had to get season-ending surgery for a left toe dislocation. He will pick up his player option for next season; hopefully Porter can dodge injuries next year. That’s been the major hurdle in his career to this point but he’s a good fantasy option when healthy.Thaddeus YoungPF, Toronto Raptors
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 TOR 54 9 14.7 2.0 3.7 54.5 0.3 0.5 69.2 0.1 0.6 17.6 4.4 3.1 1.4 1.0 0.1 0.8 21-22 TOR 51 1 16.2 2.7 5.3 51.7 0.5 1.0 46.9 0.3 0.9 34.0 6.2 4.0 2.0 1.0 0.3 1.0 20-21 CHI 67 22 24.3 5.4 9.7 56.0 1.0 1.6 62.6 0.2 0.7 27.3 12.0 6.2 4.3 1.1 0.6 2.0
ADP: 139/134 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 271/265 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 274/266 (8/9-cat)
The veteran saw his minutes reduced more and more as the season went on. Young ended up playing a total of 54 games in 14.7 minutes per game. The Raptors gave up a first-round pick for him at the trade deadline in 2021-22, but he did not play a consistent role on the team this past year. It’s a bit surprising, given that Young can play center in the team’s favored small-ball groups, but Nurse didn’t see it that way.
Young can be cut before his salary becomes guaranteed prior to next season, and it seems likely the Raptors will do so in order to open up cap space.Christian KolokoC, Toronto Raptors
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 TOR 58 19 13.8 1.2 2.6 48.0 0.6 1.0 62.7 0.0 0.2 8.3 3.1 2.9 0.5 0.4 1.0 0.3
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 308/291 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 351/324 (8/9-cat)
Koloko did get some rotation minutes prior to Jakob Poeltl’s arrival to the team. His best skill was his ability to block shots at the rim. Koloko averaged 2.6 blocks per game in the G League and earned a shot right away given the team’s lack of rim protection. He is still a very limited player offensively, and is prone to foul a lot. The G League experience should help him but Koloko is still a few steps away from becoming a major part of the rotation on the team and will most likely be stuck behind Poeltl and Achiuwa on the depth chart next season.Malachi FlynnPG, Toronto Raptors
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 TOR 53 2 13.0 1.6 4.6 36.0 0.5 0.6 75.8 0.9 2.5 35.3 4.6 1.4 1.3 0.4 0.1 0.5 21-22 TOR 44 5 11.6 1.5 3.8 40.2 0.3 0.5 62.5 0.6 1.9 33.3 4.1 1.3 1.5 0.4 0.1 0.3 20-21 TOR 47 14 19.7 2.7 7.2 37.4 1.0 1.2 80.4 1.1 3.6 32.1 7.5 2.5 2.9 0.8 0.1 0.9
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 353/347 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 428/418 (8/9-cat)
Flynn was a first round selection by the Raptors in 2020 but has not been given a chance to play in three years with the team outside of when they were tanking in Tampa.
In 2022-23, Flynn played in just 53 games, with most of them being appearances in garbage time.
Nick Nurse showed no confidence in him at all during his tenure despite the Raptors barely having any guards on the roster this past season. Even Will Barton, who was signed as a free agent after he was waived by the Wizards, got rotation minutes over Flynn to close out the season.
Flynn still has one year remaining on his rookie deal and will most likely be back on the team next season. Depending on who the Raptors bring back next season, there could be an opportunity for Flynn to finally see some consistent minutes under a new head coach.Dalano BantonPG, Toronto Raptors
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 TOR 31 2 9.0 1.8 4.2 42.3 0.5 0.8 70.8 0.5 1.6 29.4 4.6 1.5 1.2 0.4 0.4 0.6 21-22 TOR 64 1 10.8 1.3 3.2 41.1 0.4 0.7 59.1 0.2 0.8 25.5 3.2 1.9 1.5 0.4 0.2 0.8
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 394/382 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 394/393 (8/9-cat)
Banton, who is Canadian and grew up in the Toronto area, played well during Summer League and pre-season. There was some level of buzz around him that he could see minutes behind Fred VanVleet as the backup guard off the bench. This did not happen, as Banton was not a factor during the season at all and played most of his minutes in the G League. Banton has intriguing size at the guard position but has not shown any improvement in his shooting ability since coming into the league.Will BartonSG, Toronto Raptors
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 TOR 56 2 17.7 2.5 6.5 37.9 0.7 0.8 78.7 1.2 3.2 36.7 6.8 2.4 2.0 0.5 0.2 0.9 21-22 DEN 71 71 32.1 5.5 12.6 43.8 1.4 1.8 80.3 2.2 6.1 36.5 14.7 4.8 3.9 0.8 0.4 1.8 20-21 DEN 56 52 31.0 4.6 10.9 42.6 1.7 2.2 78.5 1.8 4.6 38.1 12.7 4.0 3.2 0.9 0.4 1.7
ADP: 139/145(ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 291/299 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 321/334 (8/9-cat)
Barton was acquired as a free agent after agreeing to a buy-out with the Wizards late in the season. Nurse seemed to have more faith in the veteran Barton over younger players such as Flynn or Banton. Barton averaged 13.2 minutes per game in 16 appearances for the Raptors. He never made a big enough impact to play any factor outside of extremely deep leagues in fantasy.
The season as a whole was a major disappointment. Barton went from key player on the Nuggets to getting lost in the shuffle with the Wizards, who decided (rightfully) to lean on their younger wing options. The potential for him to earn a starting job in Washington made him a late-round flier but Barton quickly faded to the background.Jeff Dowtin Jr.PG, Toronto Raptors
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 TOR 25 0 10.4 1.0 2.3 43.9 0.2 0.4 66.7 0.2 0.6 31.2 2.4 0.9 1.2 0.4 0.1 0.2 21-22 ORL 9 11.9 0.9 2.9 30.8 0.2 0.2 100.0 0.1 1.0 11.1 2.1 2.0 1.1 0.6 0.1 0.6
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 427/419 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 463/442 (8/9-cat)
Dowtin was signed as a two way player after a strong performance in Summer League, and was not on the radar to see minutes in the NBA last season. He seemed to gain Nurse’s trust by playing solid defense whenever he got the opportunity to play. In March, he started seeing minutes on a regular basis for a stretch of games as the backup PG. However, due to him being on a two-way contract, he could only appear in 25 games unless he was given a roster spot. Dowtin finished the season still on a two-way contract and was not able to participate in the Play-In after reaching his quota of games. He will have to fight for a spot over the summer but was the only player at the back-end of the roster to show signs of improvement this past season for the Raptors.Joe WieskampSG, Toronto Raptors
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 TOR 9 0 5.6 0.3 1.6 21.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 1.3 25.0 1.0 0.4 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.1 21-22 SA 29 6.8 0.7 1.9 35.7 0.2 0.4 53.8 0.5 1.5 32.6 2.1 0.4 0.3 0.1 0.1 0.1
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 526/525 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 530/528 (8/9-cat)
Wieskamp was drafted with the 41st overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs. He mostly played in the G League for the Spurs on a two-way deal. Wieskamp was signed to a two-way contract by the Raptors on January 7th, 2023. His best skill is his shooting ability, something the Raptors desperately needed. As was the case with many players coming off the bench for the Raptors, Wieskamp never got an extended run of games despite taking up a roster spot after being signed for the remainder of the season. His contract is not fully guaranteed for next season and he will have to fight for a spot during training camp.Ron Harper Jr.SF, Toronto Raptors
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 TOR 9 0 5.3 0.9 1.8 50.0 0.1 0.1 100.0 0.3 1.0 33.3 2.2 0.8 0.4 0.0 0.1 0.0
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 489/489 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 503/489 (8/9-cat)
The son of 5-time NBA Champion Ron Harper, Harper Jr. was signed to a two-way contract by the Raptors. He spent the season in the G League playing for the Raptors 905, averaging 16.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in 30 games played. It is unclear, what role, if any, Harper will have on the team next season. He will have to take advantage of Summer League and the pre-season to show improvements in his game to have a chance to get a roster spot next season.
Fred VanVleet finished the season ranked inside the top-25 in both 8- and 9-cat formats in per game value despite struggling to shoot the ball for extended stretches during the season. His ability to rack up defensive stats compensates for his FG% struggles. However, VanVleet is clearly better suited for punt FG% builds. If he re-signs with the Raptors this offseason, he should continue to see a similar volume of shots next season than it was this past year, and will be in the discussion again for a top-25 finish. He took a lot of heat when his shooting dipped in the middle of the season but fantasy managers still got a big season from a player who was asked to do a ton to get this offense to even average levels.
There was a lot of hype around Scottie Barnes in fantasy circles prior to the season. After finishing 67th in per game value in 9-cat formats in 2021-22, the expectation was that Barnes would take another step forward in his sophomore campaign. This was reflected in his average ADP position of 41. Unfortunately, Barnes was not able to reward fantasy managers that drafted him around that position.
He really struggled early on in the season, and at times would disappear on the offensive end during games. Barnes finished the year ranked 74th per game in 8-cat, while finishing 85th per game in 9-cat formats.
The arrival of Jakob Poeltl allowed Barnes to not have to play as de facto small ball center role on offense anymore, which opened up his game more, and he was more effective with the ball in his hands. His second half of the season was much stronger than the first, and he ended the season ranked 50th in total value in both 8 and 9-cat formats. Barnes wasn’t exactly bad, but he was unable to meet the hype after setting the bar very high for himself as a rookie.
One to Watch
Jakob Poeltl was off to a great start this season but managers must have been a little worried around the deadline. On the Spurs, Poeltl was seeing limited minutes at times despite starting, as the Spurs were tanking their way down the standings. If they didn’t trade him, he could’ve been stuck in a true timeshare for the entire year.
The trade to the Raptors was a blessing for Poeltl’s fantasy game. He was now the starting center on a much improved team competing to win games. He was able to put up a number of big games right away despite being new on the team, and it didn’t take too long for the old chemistry to get clicking with old friends.
Poeltl has a friendly fantasy game if you exclude his struggles from the free throw line. He can produce some assists at the center position, as well as provide both blocks and steals. Should he re-sign with the Raptors this offseason, Poeltl will be a popular target in fantasy drafts next season. We know what he’s capable of as a full-time starter, but there could be even more ceiling given his fit with the team.
One Burning Question
How will the Raptors’ different style of play under a new head coach impact their players’ fantasy profiles for next season?
The Raptors currently do not have much flexibility cap space wise. This does not only apply for this offseason, but also in the coming years. It will be very difficult for the front office to make significant changes to the roster this offseason, especially if the front office is not looking to move any of their key pieces, which Ujiri has shown reluctance to do in the past. The front office will most likely try to re-sign their key free agents this summer in order to not lose them for nothing in return. The big change that is coming this summer is the arrival of a new head coach. It would seem unlikely that the new hire would not try to implement his own style of play and move away from what it has been under Nurse. This could have a big impact on the outlook for Raptors players next season from a fantasy perspective:
Will O.G. Anunoby be among the league leaders in steals again if the Raptors switch to a much more conservative defensive style? Will Fred VanVleet have the same form of freedom and high usage rate offensively than he had under Nurse (if he’s back at all)? What will Scottie Barnes’ role look like under the new head coach? All of these are examples of questions that will get answered in the coming months as the Raptors prepare to move into a different era.
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