What Does the Toronto Raptors Starting Lineup Look Like for the 2021–22 Season?

Published 09/12/2021, 4:00 PM EDT
Sep 11, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (left) celebrates with forward Pascal Siakam (43) after making a three-point basket against the Boston Celtics during the second half of game seven of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


Toronto Raptors are now far from the days where Kawhi Leonard played a key role in winning the franchise’s first championship. Most of the roster from the championship run is no longer a part of the franchise. They only retained key pieces like VanVleet, Siakam, and Anunoby. Players like Gasol, Lowry, and Serge Ibaka have since left the team after its glory days.

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After a disappointing end to the last season, there is some hope to look forward to for the Raptors fans. They traded Kyle Lowry at the beginning of the free agency. Now the team is in a complete rebuild mode with a few young assets who have some potential. They drafted Scottie Barnes with the fourth pick of the draft.

May 4, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) celebrates scoring past LA Clippers guard Paul George (13) during the third quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

However, they might struggle to put up a strong starting lineup at the beginning of the season. Here’s the potential starting lineup for the Toronto Raptors.

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Potential Starting Lineup for the Toronto Raptors

Guards

Point Guard: Fred VanVleet

Fred VanVleet is one of the most experienced stars of this team. The point guard averaged 19.6 points a game last season, while also contributing approximately 6 assists and 4 rebounds on average.  He is now going to be backed up by the veteran Goran Dragic, so he can afford to focus on improving his scoring while Dragic does the playmaking.

He shot 38.9% from the field last season, which is only average for a player of his caliber.

Feb 2, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) drives to the basket as Orlando Magic guard Cole Anthony (50) defends during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Shooting Guard: Gary Trent Jr

The former Trail Blazer has found himself in a comfortable position to consistently start for the Raptors. He averaged 16.2 points per game since getting traded to the Raptors. Even though he has only played 17 games as a Raptor, he will most likely be starting at the beginning of next season.

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Forwards

Small Forward: Scottie Barnes

The superstar first-round pick Scottie Barnes truly balled out in the Summer League. He averaged 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, a steal, and two blocks per game in four games of the Summer League. Barnes has exceptional length, outstanding feet, and a high engine, and they predict him to be a future All-NBA Defender.

Power Forward: OG Anunoby

Since head coach Nick Nurse will most likely look to maximize the potential of the 4th pick in the draft, Anunoby will most likely shift to his secondary position. A clutch shooter, Anunoby is a threat from inside and outside the arc. He was a consistent starter for the Raptors last year. However, he will have to show consistency in order to maintain his place in the starting lineup. Since, Precious Achiuwa, who also plays in this position, has shown sparks of his potential since the Olympics.

Center: Pascal Siakam

Arguably the best player on this roster, Siakam is a dominant machine inside the paint. However, the small-ball center might struggle in terms of size against the 7 feet tall bigs in the league. His advantage over them would however be his athleticism and speed, so he needs to focus on those positives to maintain a 20+ points average like he did last season. We expect him to now shift to the role of the center as he is the tallest on this roster.

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Jan 2, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) is fouled by Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) during the fourth quarter at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

What does this mean for the Toronto Raptors?

Coming off a terrible season, their free agency began with the reassurance that Siakam is not on his way out of the franchise. While his performance dropped last season majorly because of the change in the atmosphere of home games, he will look to play with a chip on his shoulder.

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He is the main hope for this franchise to make any progress in playoff contention. But he also needs support from his teammates in order to avoid putting too much pressure on him.

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Chaitanya Dadhwal

129 articles

Chaitanya Dadhwal is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Even though his journalism is driven by his desire to understand both sides of an argument and give a neutral perspective, he is biased towards Houston Rockets and Arsenal, and he has shown exactly how loyal he can be through tough times. Currently a Law student at Jindal Global Law School, he aims to have his own sports management firm one day and enjoys rap music during his time off.

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