The new-look Toronto Raptors will look to take the next step in 2018-19, hoping to get over the hump and make a deep playoff run. The Raptors led the East with 59 wins last year, but their season fell short with a familiar ending - losing to LeBron James in the playoffs. Even with LeBron James moving to the Western Conference, the Raptors shook up their roster to add more firepower on the court and on the sidelines.
In a trade that shocked the rest of the NBA world, the Toronto Raptors acquired 2x Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs. In exchange for Leonard and sharpshooter Danny Green, the Raptors parted ways with franchise cornerstone DeMar DeRozan, as well as Jakob Poeltl and a first round pick. With his smooth scoring ability and elite defense, Leonard is undoubtedly one of the best players in the league when healthy. Despite mixed reviews following the trade, upgrading from DeMar Derozan to Kawhi Leonard should pay off in a big way for the Raptors this season. With Leonard’s upcoming free agency next summer, every Raptors home game will be another crucial step towards convincing Leonard that Toronto is his home for the future. There will be no shortage of drama up north this year.
Before the Raptors shook up the roster by trading for Kawhi Leonard, the team replaced Dwane Case with Nick Nurse as head coach. Nurse was previously an assistant coach with the Raptors since 2013. With high expectations, Nurse will need to turn this team into a legitimate championship contender from day one, in additional to playing a major role in the year-long recruitment effort of Kawhi Leonard.
Kawhi Leonard and his former Spurs teammate Danny Green are both penciled in to start, along with Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and Jonas Valanciunas. Kyle Lowry has been an All-Star four straight seasons, a streak he will look to continue in 2018-19. His elite shooting and playmaking make him one of the premier point guards in the NBA. With the additions of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green on the perimeter, Lowry should have more room to operate and create plays in the paint. Sixth Man of the Year candidate Fred VanVleet quickly became a fan favorite last season, and he should play a major role once again this season.
Enjoy Toronto Raptors basketball in The Six all year long at the newly re-named Scotiabank Arena. Toronto Raptors luxury suites include HDTVs, upscale furnishings, deluxe catering, and excellent views of the floor. Maybe Drake will even take a night off from his courtside seats and watch the game from a suite near yours!