pg: Steph Curry, Marcus Smart, Kay Felder
sg: Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Ray Allen
sf: James Johnson, Jaylen Brown, Mike Dunleavy, Paul Pierce
pf: Patrick Patterson, Carl Landry, Ersan Illyasova, Bobby Portis, Kevin Garnett, James Johnson
c: Brook Lopez, Patrick Patterson, Bobby Portis, Kevin Garnett
The Elite Talents
Steph Curry is ready to become the first player to three-peat NBA MVPs since Larry Legend 30 years ago. At 28, he is at his peak, and ready to win another championship with this team comprised of both experienced veterans and tough, athletic young players.
Brook Lopez is good for 20 pts, 8 rebounds, and almost 2 blocks. His defense isn't great. That's ok though, because this team has a bunch of long, athletic wings that can take pressure off, especially on the perimeter. It will be hard to come up with a better scoring tandem of Lopez and Curry in this league.
The Glue Guys
Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown will both be Curry's junkyard dogs. That means they will annoy every guard/wing that they play, being able to let Curry do his magic on the offensive end. Smart has shown strong leadership traits, especially on the defensive end. Brown is a freak athlete that will be able to get to the rim in this spread-out, small ball system.
James Johnson is a very underrated wing/power forward that still has not hit his peak. After posterizing Andre Drummond, he remarked, "That was nasty, right? I cocked that joint back and banged on him!" At 250 lbs, he will be asked to bring intensity on both sides of the ball.
Patrick Patterson is another underrated and fiery competitor. A glue guy for the Raptors recent playoff push, Patterson fits in very well with talented scorers such as Curry and Lopez. He can stretch the floor (over 36% from 3's), but also can bring the soul to the hole like JJ above. From his Tribune article, "We the North. What does that mean? We’re going to show you."
Bobby Portis has shown flashes of elite talent, so much that it looks like he will get his shot to play major minutes by beating out Taj Gibson in the other basketball league he plays in. At 6'11, Portis is also a promising stretch 4, though he can mix it up down low as well. A high-upside, high character player that will make many teams wish they had drafted him.
The Big Three
KG, Paul, and Ray were picked to provide mentorship. They will all get most of the regular season to rest, while they prepare themselves to play extended minutes in the playoffs (though most likely not more than 15 minutes each, especially Allen). Ray is there to help Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown with their jump shot, Paul is there to guide Jaylen Brown on his handle, and KG will help Patterson, JJ, and Bobby Portis to realize their defensive potential. All three would like to retire as championship winners, so they are all eager to inspire, educate, and motivate the young guys.
The Other Guys
Illyasova is a very talented shooter for a man his size (6'10). Not many teams have such a talented scorer coming off the bench at his size.
Carl Landry has proven to be very effective in limited minutes. "I know my role," said Landry in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer back in March. "I've got to be the vet guy that comes and gives knowledge that's always positive." At 32, he is a a team-first, positive contributor that can score down low or outside. He doesn't mind getting chippy with bigger players.
Kay Felder is a sparkplug off the bench. In the limited moments that Curry or Smart are not leading the offense, Felder will bring his quickness, agility, and jump shot to add value. He is a change-of-pace "Nate Robinson-like" player.
Mike Dunleavy is another tall player that can stand out by the 3pt line and drain shots when needed. He has hit many open shots in the NBA, and will continue to do so when called upon.
Get the ball in the hands of those who can score, and everyone else does what they can to be the best role players in the NBA. Smart, Brown, Patterson, JJ, and Portis will all be called upon to make the winning plays that do not show up in the box score. This team will stretch the floor and work out of the high post, with Lopez and his other bigs setting screens to either hit the open shot at the key, or kick out to an open shot on the perimeter. Spacing will be the key, but this should not be an issue as the Raptors have the top player in the NBA and one of the best offensive centers.
Curry, Lopez, and Smart will play big minutes, while the rest of the team (minus the big 3) will play anywhere from 15-25 minutes, depending on the matchup. The Raptors rely on both young and old, but the majority of the minutes will go to those players that are closer to their late 20's.
The Raptors are a mix of skill, finesse, and grinders that don't take defensive plays off.