Raptors Cage

We’re talking Preseason?

Seeing Kawhi Leonard drop 12 points in 19 minutes,17 if he shot better than 6/11 from the free throw line, is bringing out the optimism that has become customary at the start of every season in Toronto.

The Raptors started their pre-season against the Portland Trail Blazers with the lineup: Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Leonard, CJ Miles, and Serge Ibaka at center.

Lowry’s stats were 15 points, four rebounds, and one assist. Leonard had 12 points, three assists, one rebound, and one steal.

Both looked comfortable and ready to play in real games.

The rest of the guys also look like they’re ready to pick-up where they left off last season.

OG Anunoby missed the game for personal reasons.

His addition should make Nick Nurse’s pre-season experiments even more interesting.

Nurse’s second unit against the Blazers: Fred Vanvleet, Delon Wright, Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam, and Jonas Valanciunas.

Greg Monroe had eight points in 12 minutes of action.

Anunoby’s role when he returns will have a huge impact on the outlook of the team.

It’s still unknown how much he will play with Leonard or how much he will play the four.

Where he’s slotted in the pre-season when he returns will make the picture clearer.

What to Look for in games 3, 4 and 5

Who starts?

While the Raptors haven’t announced Anunoby’s return to the team, there’s no indication he will miss extended time.

Whether Nurse starts Miles or Anunoby is a big question.

Judging off the first game the Raptors are trying to play lineups with one “traditional big” and spread the floor with four shooters.

JV and SI?

It’s also possible the Raptors could return to a more conventional lineup with Ibaka and Valanciunas.

Valanciunas’ performance off the bench might force some tough decisions to be made.

He scored 17 points and looks like he’s rounding into a complete player.

There’s no doubt one of them will be in the starting lineup,

The next three games might determine which of the two will start.

Who’s next?

The Raptors are generous with playing time when it comes to new/young players.

All of the guys that we will get to know as the season progresses will get their chances to shine in these upcoming games.

Guys like Chris Boucher, Kay Felder, Malachi Richardson and Jordan Loyd will be trying to show Raptors fans what their made of.

The games:

Melborne Tigers @ Raptors

Nets @ Raptors

Wed. Oct 10, 7:00 p.m.

Raptors @ Pelicans

Thurs. Oct 11, 8:00 p.m.

Once the real games start, there’s no doubt the team will have ups and downs as they try to figure things out with a new star and head coach.

Leonard’s free agency and trade possibilities will be distractions the team has to deal with weekly.

The honeymoon will end after the pre-season, the three games left are a chance to relax and let your imagination run wild.

 

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