Raptors

Raptors to Remain Top Contender Despite Possible Changes?

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The 2019-2020 NBA season came to an end with the Los Angeles Lakers winning their first NBA Championship in ten years. Despite their success, there was much more that transpired in a never-before-seen environment.

The 2019 NBA champion Toronto Raptors were dethroned after falling to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but there are still plenty of reasons that those betting with Unibet NJ should be tempted to make a wager for the Raptors winning the Eastern Conference next year for the second time in three seasons.

Nick Nurse Tied Down To New Deal

The Raptors’ chances of competing next season will largely hinge on what occurs this offseason. With Marc Gasol potentially leaving for Europe, and free-agents-to-be Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet due to seek external interest, the team may look completely different from a season ago. However, one man that will not be going anywhere for the foreseeable future is head coach Nick Nurse, who put pen to paper on a multi-year deal worth a reported $8 million per season.

The new deal makes him one of the highest-paid coaches in the league, but his credentials are unquestioned. He ensured that the Raptors would remain competitive even without 2019 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. Any chance the Raptors have of winning another championship  requires Nurse at the helm.

Siakam’s Growing Ceiling

Pascal Siakam was left with massive shoes to fill following Leonard’s departure to the Los Angeles Clippers, and for the most part, he was excellent. Excluding the playoffs, Siakam averaged more points per game in the regular season last season than he was in the championship-winning season. He averaged 16.9 points per game as the number two to Leonard, but saw that rise to 22.9 per contest last season.

Obviously, some people will point towards his postseason performances and state that he isn’t ready, but from what Raptors fans have seen over the past 12 months, Siakam is improving, and that is a reason why they shouldn’t be ruled out of contending in the Eastern Conference next season. Fans can hope to see continued development over the next few seasons.

Young Talent Blooming

Siakam isn’t the only success story for the Raptors, as players like OG Anunoby, who buried a buzzer-beater in Game 3 against the Celtics, as well as Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet, who also continue to grow with every passing season. Of course, the latter of those still has questions over his long-term future with the Raptors hanging in the balance, which means re-signing VanVleet is priority No. 1 for the Raps this offseason.

Anunoby’s Shot Sprinkles Life Into Nearly-Dead Raptors

It’s hard to argue against these three key role players improving over the next 12 months, and all of them already have the knowhow of winning an NBA Championship. They all saw spikes in points, rebounds, assists and steals per game during the regular season last year, highlighting that improvement will be forthcoming again when the 2021 season gets underway.

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Articles by TLSM staff.

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