While there’s plenty of time remaining for the Toronto Raptors to turn around their 2022-23 season, the Raptors must also begin looking toward this summer’s NBA Draft. At the time of writing, the Raptors have the seventh-best NBA Draft lottery odds, giving them a 7.5% chance at the No.1 pick and 31.9% at a top-four pick.
There’s no doubt it’s been a disappointing season for Canada’s team, after posting a 48-win season in 2021-22, the Raptors are in danger of their second losing season in three years after winning the NBA Title in 2018-19. They currently sit fifth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. Former NBA Coach of the Year Nick Nurse, who started his career off with back-to-back 50+ win seasons has won just 47% of all games since the beginning of the 2020-21 season.
The crown jewel of the 2023 NBA Draft of course is French center Victor Wembanyama who might just be one of the most talented big men we’ve ever seen, showing the ability to shoot from anyone on the court while playing strong defense as well. However, the draft is still full of potential future stars from G-League star Scoot Henderson to Arkansas shooting guard Nick Smith, Alabama strong forward Brandon Miller, and South Carolina power forward Gregory Jackson among others. It’s clear that even if the Raptors land outside the top four, they’ll have a good chance of landing an impact player in this year’s draft.
A young core to add to…
Wherever the Raptors end up in the draft and whoever they end up drafting, the Raptors will be adding to a quality young core. They’ll add to the likes of power forward Scottie Barnes, C Precious Achiuwa, and Gary Trent Jr. That’s to go along with high-impact veterans such as Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Otto Porter Jr.
The second-year Barnes is the defending NBA Rookie of the Year and has followed it up with another quality season, averaging 14.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game. Precious Achiuwa has developed into a quality center to build around, averaging 7.3 points while coming off the bench. Stars Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Fred VanVleet will continue to lead the way, all three players are averaging over 18 points per game this season including 25.7 points a night from star center Pascal Siakam. Also Read – An Overview of The Ice Hockey World Championship
Can the Raptors turn it around?
If the Raptors are going to turn their season around, they’ll have to find a way to win more when being the underdog. This season, in 16 games as underdogs, the Raptors are 5-11 straight up though they have been able to cover over 50% of the time posting a 9-7 record.
They’ll also have to find a way to break out of their funk. Since the start of December, the Raptors are 6-13 including losing five of their last seven games. After starting the season with a win total over-under of 46.5, the team is on pace for just 34.8 wins this season, a severe underperformance.
Oddsmakers are not completely out on the Raptors though they are quite the longshots, ranging anywhere from +4000 to +15000 on the various books throughout Toronto including +6600 at BetMGM. Ontario residents can bet on the Raptors and more at BetMGM Ontario.
The good news for the Raptors is if they do want to turn their season around, there’s plenty of time remaining as they have the fourth easiest strength of schedule remaining this season. Among their 41 games remaining includes 12 games against the Raptors, Pistons, Hornets, Spurs, Magic, and Wizards. The only teams with easier schedules the rest of the way in Cleveland, Washington, and Chicago.
To build off that, the Raptors have been strong against other teams below .500 this season going 10-5, a stark difference compared to their 8-18 record against teams above .500 this season. Their 10-5 record against teams below .500 is the best of all nonplayoff teams in the Eastern Conference.