Projecting the 2013-2014 Toronto Raptors

If there was ever a year for the Raptors to get back to the playoffs this is it.  They finally have a talented and well-rounded roster where everyone is willing to work on both ends of the floor.

With the departure of Andrea Bargnani via trade with the New York Knicks, Toronto should be more balanced on the defensive end of the floor and have more toughness.

English: DeMar DeRozan Toronto Raptors Miami H...
English: DeMar DeRozan Toronto Raptors Miami Heat 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Look for the Raptors to rely on the growth of second year center Jonas Valanciunas if they are to make strides towards a playoff berth.  Valanciunas is big and skilled with nice touch around the basket and a solid rebounder.  He will be paired with power forward Amir Johnson who has great athletic ability and seems to get better every year.  The Raptors brought in Pacers back-up Tyler Hansbrough to spell Jonas and Amir and will provide added toughness and rebounding.

The wing positions are as solid as they have been in a long time thanks to have three explosive play makers in Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross.  All three can score in a bunch of different ways but are especially effective off the bounce.  Of the bunch, only Gay has touch from behind the three-point line but the Raptors have plenty of bench help in that regard thanks to Austin Daye and Steve Novak.

Kyle Lowry is back to man the point and is solid floor general.  He can hurt you as a passer and also can do damage when he goes to the rim.

With all of the talent that the Raptors have this year, look for them to win 38-44 games and make a strong push to for the last few playoff spots in the Eastern Conference as long as they can avoid the injury bug.

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