Breaking down the Toronto Raptors Depth Chart for 2018-19

The Toronto Raptors are swinging for the fences to attempt to get to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. The roster is extremely versatile.

The Toronto Raptors will enter the 2018-19 season with a lot of familiar faces, but have a new superstar as well a couple of new role players. There's good reason to believe this will be the best Raptors team in franchise history.

Depth Chart

PG: Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet
SG: Danny Green, Delon Wright, Norman Powell
SF: Kawhi Leonard, CJ Miles
PF: OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam
C: Jonas Valanciunas, Serge Ibaka, Greg Monroe

The Others: Lorenzo Brown, Malachi Richardson, Jordan Loyd, Chris Boucher, Kay Felder, Kyle Collinsworth, Deng Abel, Eric Moreland

Lineup Data Via (@JacobEGoldstein)

The Expectations

The Raptors may only have Kawhi Leonard for this season. As a result, it's finals or bust for the Toronto Raptors, plain and simple. The Raptors have had plenty of playoffs blunders over the last 5 years, from getting swept by the Randy Wittman Wizards to getting bounced by LeBron James three straight seasons. LeBron is no longer in the East. The excuses stop now. Superstars win playoff games. The Raptors now have one in Kawhi Leonard.

The Point Guards

Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet

The duo of Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet is every analytics person's dream. A lot of players in the NBA now specialize in the corner three, but couldn't hit a three from any other zone to save their lives. Only five players in the NBA last season attempted more than 500 above the break threes. Kyle Lowry was one of them and he had a success rate of 39% (only ranking behind Kemba Walker 39.1%). It wasn't a fluke; the previous season he shot 42.5% from that area (1.3% better than Steph Curry).

Fred VanVleet is sometimes referred to as a younger Lowry. It's probably not a fair comparison, but what they do share is that ability to hit that above the break three. VanVleet doesn't take as many as Lowry, but among players who attempted at least 150 last season, VanVleet was 11th in the NBA with a percentage of 42%. Not bad for a guy who went undrafted two years ago.

The Wings

Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, CJ Miles, Norman Powell

Kawhi Leonard might just be the best two-way player in the NBA. Two years ago there was a debate around who should win MVP. It came down to Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook. It's important to remember this because if Kawhi returns to form he could be the favorite to win MVP this season. This is a player who doesn't really have weaknesses on the basketball court. That, combined with his lack of emotions, make him better than any robot you could make in a lab.

Danny Green was once one of the best two-way role players in the league. He had a four-year stretch during which he shot over 40% from three each season. However, he has shot under that number in each of the last three seasons. He's still a very good defender, but when his shot isn't falling you are playing 4 vs 5 on offense. CJ Miles is essentially Danny Green without the defense. He's fine as a bench player, but anything more is probably asking too much.

Norman Powell has had several hot streaks over the course of his career. He's also not afraid of the big stage, playing a major part in knocking out the Pacers in the playoffs three years ago and the Bucks two years ago. However, there is no way to sugarcoat the fact that Powell played poorly last year. Maybe he had trouble picking up the new offense, but if he struggles again this year it will be hard to make excuses for him.

The Bigs

Jonas Valanciunas, Serge Ibaka, Pascal Siakam, Greg Monroe

Jonas Valanciunas had a career year last year despite playing a career-low 22.5 MPG. It's clear Dwane Casey wasn't his biggest fan, but thankfully Casey is gone. Valanciunas is a great rebounder and good interior scorer who also shot over 40% from three last year. The three-point shooting may not be real as he only attempted 74 and was left wide open on most of them. Where Valanciunas takes a lot of heat is with his defense. Is Valanciunas a great defender? No. Is he an awful defender like many people believe? Probably not. His pick and roll defense is non-existent at times and he's not a modern rim protector. However, he rarely gets bullied one-on-one. Plus, when Kevin Love was roasting the Raptors in the playoffs last year the Raptors' only competent adjustment was putting Jonas Valanciunas on him.

I'm not sure when Serge Ibaka's best before date is, but he started to stink a little bit toward the end of the year and was straight up smelly in the playoffs. Ibaka is no longer a rim protector. He's an average or slightly below average rebounder for a big man. He's become a decent perimeter shooter over the last few years, but cannot really guard many players on the perimeter anymore. Kevin Love has beaten Serge Ibaka on dribble drives in the playoffs in consecutive years. If Kevin Love is beating you with his speed there's a problem. Ibaka is definitely overpaid making roughly $45M over these next two seasons, but can he be a serviceable bench player? If he buys in and accepts coming off the bench at this late stage in his career, sure.

From being a placeholder starter to key bench player, Pascal Siakam has come a long way in two years. He's got speed and driving ability like a wing, while being the size of a small ball center. Siakam still isn't a great rebounder, but he's become an above average playmaker for a big man. Currently, Siakam struggles with his shot from distance. The Raptors don't need him to become a three-point specialist, but it would be helpful if he was close to league average for spacing purposes.

It's hard to know where Greg Monroe fits in the rotation. Some people think he's the backup center whereas others would say he's the third-string center. Considering he was signed late in free agency for the minimum and does a lot of the same things Valanciunas does (but not as well), it's reasonable to assume Greg Monroe is the third-string center until an injury happens.

Positionless Players

Delon Wright, OG Anunoby

Delon Wright’s natural position may be point guard, but his size often allows him to guard wings. And with DeRozan gone and VanVleet re-signed he'll probably get the bulk of his minutes this season at shooting guard. Delon improved his shooting last year, but still hesitates at times to release from deep.

What position is OG Anunoby? Does it even matter? Anunoby was thought of as the PJ Tucker replacement heading into last season. However, Anunoby surpassed expectations and earned a starting spot pretty quickly. He's a good defender who showed he could hit the corner three. He even elevated his game in the playoffs last year. With the addition of Kawhi Leonard, OG Anunoby could slide to the power forward position in the starting lineup.

The Goal

The ultimate goal for the Raptors is to win a championship. Is that likely this season? Probably not, but adding Kawhi Leonard certainly increases the Raptors' odds.

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