While it feels like the NBA season just ended, a new season is almost upon us. For the Toronto Raptors and their fans, this off-season has been a time of significant change. From losing franchise icons to bringing in fresh faces, there has been much to process. With the release of the NBA schedule, fans can begin anticipating the start of what is sure to be an exciting season for the Raptors. The 2021-22 NBA season is not far away, so it’s time to start looking ahead.
For NBA fans and bettors, the weeks leading up to the season are an important time. Gathering as much information as possible and hammering some sleeper pre-season bets can lead to big payoffs down the road. The odds on the Raptors making major noise this year are slim, so an over-win total bet on one of the NBA betting sites in Canada offering odds could be a big winner.
The NBA season for the Raptors kicks off on October 20th at Scotiabank Arena. It will be the Toronto Raptors’ first game in their home arena since the pandemic started, as the Raptors had to struggle through the 2020-21 season in Tampa Bay, Florida. The Raptors will be facing off against the Washington Wizards, who’ve undergone a major change this off-season as well. Their next game is against the Boston Celtics. The regular season wraps up on April 10th, with a game against the New York Knicks.
The 2021-22 NBA season marks a year where the Raptors are re-tooling. There is a lot of uncertainty about the team and its ability to compete. The ceiling for this team is high if everything breaks right, but the floor is relatively low. Only three seasons removed from an unlikely and historic championship, many pundits are predicting a down year for the Toronto Raptors. However, there is still reason for optimism.
For starters, the Raptors are returning three significant pieces that are either aging into their prime or entirely in it. Paskal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and O.G Anunoby are all sub-30, high-quality players. While last season was a major step backward for Siakam, he was an all-star starter as recently as 2020 and should be healthy. VanVleet is taking over the backcourt after the departure of Kyle Lowry to the Miami Heat, and he is a versatile defender, explosive scorer, and poised decision-maker. Anunoby could blossom into a full-fledged star, and even if he doesn’t, he’s already an extremely valuable player.
Aside from the familiar faces ready to lead the Raptors, some less familiar faces could help the team compete. Gary Trent Jr. re-signed with the Raptors after coming over in the trade deadline, and he will fill a vital role as the likely starting shooting guard. He already showed off his ability to catch fire from deep in his brief stint with the team, and he is only 22 years old, with room for development. Khem Birch was another pick-up post-deadline, and he surprised by playing as a competent starting centre, something the Raptors desperately need.
The biggest cause of excitement for the Raptors is incoming rookie Scottie Barnes. A surprise selection at fourth overall, Scottie Barnes has a tantalizing skill-set that could elevate the Raptors’ ceiling if he’s ready to contribute right away. Barnes is a tall, lengthy defender that has excellent athleticism, making him ready to pick up pro wings right away. He is also an able passer that sees the floor exceptionally well. If he can add shooting and an in-between game, he could be a superstar.
Overall, the Raptors have an eclectic mix of talent, which breeds uncertainty. They have talented and proven veterans and several young pieces that could go either way. Regardless, they are not a deep team. The bench is not a point of strength for the Raptors as it has been in the past. They’re going to need their best players to shoulder an enormous burden if the team is to make any real noise in a crowded Eastern Conference.
On October 20th, the Toronto Raptors season begins. Raptors fans wait with bated breath to see how this new-looking team will perform. The 2021-22 NBA season is one of mystery for the Raptors, and it could very well be one of excitement too.