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Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Toronto Raptors 2020 - 2021 Basketball Camp Preview #RPTZFLZ

Last season, which befitting of the bizarre year 2020 has been, ended only one month ago and considering the major loss of Kawhi Leonard, the Toronto Raptors finished the season exceeding the expectations of many in the media and basketball fan landscape.

A new season is due to begin in twenty-one days and with the beginning of training camp today, the Raptors will arrive minus two key players from their championship run.  

I can't remember a time when the Raptors prospects at the beginning of a season were ever more raw and uncertain.  

Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka have both headed for Los Angeles on opposing teams which means that for the first time in a few seasons, the Raptors will be starting a couple of new bigs.  Not just new to the line-up but new to the team.  How will they meld into a culture that has been about hard nosed, defensive play?  

Chris Boucher has shown flashes of being a contributor in small flashes last season.  Can he contribute more significantly as the first big of the bench this season?

Is there any hope for Stanley Johnson in, what is most likely, his last NBA stint?

Who will emerge as the Raptors true go to guy between Norman Powell, OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam?

Is this a rebuilding season of sorts and if so, does Kyle Lowry start to eye the exit to a contender before the season ends?

Is Henry Ellenson the next Chris Boucher?

Although these questions will linger in the air, the certainty that the near future bodes well for the Raptors in terms of having one of the league's best player development systems means that this will probably be the only preseason for a while that these questions will arise.

Last season, the "run it back" themed optimism among fans was a lot higher than it will be this season, but this season's promising new theme of "hope for the future" doesn't necessarily mean doom and gloom.  The Raptors are still a playoff caliber team and great players prefer to sign with teams that were playoff teams before they arrived there.  The question is, who will be on that list of great players when the time comes?

So this season can be looked at as more of a pause.  Don't expect too much but don't think that the Raptors run of being the league's most winning team in the past five seasons will come to an end abruptly.  It's going to be a shorter and quicker training camp and preseason but I doubt it will be any less fruitful than training camps of seasons past.


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