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NBA Team Previews: #23 Toronto Raptors

23) Toronto Raptors - 34-48 in 2012-2013 season. T9th in the East. T4th in the Atlantic 

The Raptors are an interesting team to say the least. When the team saw they might have a chance at the playoffs last year, they made a bold move and agreed on a deal with the Grizzlies to get Rudy Gay. In the end they missed the playoffs, and the combo of Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan seems like an odd one. This year will be a telling year, since Toronto wouldn't want to stay a middle ground team with the upcoming draft. Either they're going for gold, or going broke. Which one? We'll just have to see.

Acquired: Steve Novak, Tyler Hansbrough, DJ Augustin, Austin Daye

Drafted: No One...

Lost: Andrea Bargnani, Alan Anderson, John Lucas III, Quentin Richardson, Linas Kleiza

Depth Chart: 

Starters: Kyle Lowry (PG), DeMar DeRozan (SG), Rudy Gay (SF), Amir Johnson (PF), Jonas Valanciunas (C)

Bench: Tyler Hansbrough (PF), DJ Augustin (PG), Terrence Ross (SG), Steve Novak (SF), Aaron Gray (C)

Team Stock:

Up: Jonas Valanciunas - The kid completely dominated the Summer League, netting him the MVP of the tournament, and that's got Toronto fans excited. He's a very tall Center who could be an imposing threat around the basket if he's developed well. It's not a guarantee he's gonna break out, but I wouldn't be betting against him being a "star" in the future.

Down: Kyle Lowry - Remember when he was the under-the-radar Point Guard everyone thought was a steal? Now he's just the guy stuck trying to stay relevant on the Raptors. While there's no big threat to him losing the starting job, it's not like people are really noticing him. Even trade rumors have surrounded him with some Raptors fans thinking this team needs another rebuilding mode blowup. Tough to be Lowry.

X-Factor: DeMar DeRozan - The team's best bang-for-his-buck player, DeRozan has shown some star moments in his time in Toronto. However, the pieces haven't been there for him and the Raptors to truly succeed. Depending on where this team goes, there will be a lot of pressure on DeMar to live up to some of the potential, to help Toronto win some more games this year around.

Question to Ponder...What can you get for Rudy Gay?

This team took a chance at Gay last year, yet the consensus is that Toronto will be looking to move him at the Trade Deadline. If that's what this team wants, they should consider the question of value. What can they get in return for Gay? A draft pick this year seems unlikely, but maybe a pick next year or even some younger players to develop. The Raptors might wanna look at what they need on their roster as they shop Gay around, and consider how to build this team up with a player like Gay most likely on the go.

Bold Prediction for the Toronto Raptors: Rudy Gay gets traded, and so will Kyle Lowry!

If you decide to rebuild, you have to fully rebuild. That means not only trading Gay away, but Lowry as well. The market for both will be quite interesting this season, and the Raptors should consider moving both. I think not only do the Raptors trade away both players, but in three years we will be impressed with what they were able to get from both players in trades. This team is a work in progress, and the first step will be to get the assets from those deals.

Projected Record: 30-52 11th in the East, 4th in the Atlantic.

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