Land of Opportunity


One Preseason Game In, Raptors Have Plenty of Opportunity for Young Roster

The Toronto Raptors kicked off their preseason with a win and a number of positive takeaways.

Rookies Scottie Barnes and Dalano Banton performed admirably in their unofficial NBA debuts, while new acquisition Precious Achiuwa showed an incredible amount of promise and potential. OG Anunoby had a spectacular first game, while names such as Justin Champagnie and Yuta Watanabe showed not only why the belong on this year’s Raptors roster but why they deserve significant roles coming off the bench.

The fact remains that there are many unknowns this early into the preseason.

Looking past Anunoby, Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Malachi Flynn, and Goran Dragic, there many questions regarding the opening night roster that are still unanswered.

How do the pieces fit? Who is worth the opportunity?

I feel like I’ve always (had a good) shot,” said Champagnie, who scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds off the bench in his Raptors preseason debut. “I just never was confident shooting in college so I just never put it up like that. Since I got here, I’ve been working on it a lot and we do the shooting lab every night so it’s something I put emphasis on, just knocking down open shots and knocking down shots the team needs me to make.”

“I just needed my foot in the door. I’ll figure it out from there … I’m always hungry for more, ready to work.”

Svi Mykhailiuk is another name to keep an eye on.

The sharpshooting wing has more NBA experience than most the players the Raptors have brought in this past offseason. His ability to shoot from the perimeter will surely help him carve out a role on a team entering a transition year. When it comes to players like Isaac Bonga, Sam Dekker, Reggie Perry and Ishmail Wainright – players who lack legitimate separator traits – their ideal role is essentially an unknown commodity at this point in time.

The Raptors will have more opportunities to find the answers they are looking for in their next four preseason games as they will take on the 76ers once more on Thursday night.


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