Reviewing the 2021-22 Toronto Raptors

June 15th, 2022

By Alan Lu

Head coach Nick Nurse and rookie forward Scottie Barnes were very instrumental in leading the Raptors to win significantly more games than expected, and to get back to the playoffs in 2022.
(Photo: Mark Blinch/Getty Images, via Fansided’s Raptors Rapture)

The 2021-22 Toronto Raptors had a terrific season overall this year. After having a down season last year, the Toronto Raptors regrouped and made critical decisions during the offseason that would impact their future for the better.  They selected Scottie Barnes with the fourth overall pick and passed on some fan favorites, as they made the pick that fit best with their team for both the present and the future.  Barnes would later reward their faith by getting off to a strong start, and he had a tremendous rookie season that culminated in him winning the Rookie of the Year award this year.

The Raptors also received a big season from Fred VanVleet, who made his first All-Star team, and star big man Pascal Siakam had a much improved year, as he played at an All-Star caliber level.  OG Anunoby was able to get healthy during the second half of the season and was able to be an impactful player for them this year.  Executive Masai Ujiri and head coach Nick Nurse deserve a lot of credit and praise for how they built and managed the team this year, and the Raptors were able to exceed expectations by winning 48 games in the regular season, and they were able to get to the playoffs as the 5th seed in the East.

Key Players:

Toronto Raptors’ star big man, Pascal Siakam had a very good season this year.
(Photo:
Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images, via TSN)

Pascal Siakam
2021-22 (TOR): 22.8 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 49 FG%, 34 3PT%, 75 FT%, 56 TS%, 20.3 PER, 8.1 WS

Siakam is an athletic, skilled combo guard that played very well for the Toronto Raptors this season.  He showed off a much-improved jump shot this year, and he also did a much better job of passing, rebounding, and defending in games.

2022 Season Grade: A-
Projected 2023 Rating: 3.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Starter on the Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors’ star point guard, Fred VanVleet made his first NBA All-Star team this year.
(Photo:
Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

Fred VanVleet
2021-22 (TOR): 20.3 PPG, 6.7 APG, 4.4 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 40 FG%, 38 3PT%, 87 FT%, 55 TS%, 17.3 PER, 6.7 WS

He is an agile, skilled playmaker that played very well for the Toronto Raptors this season.  He thrived as a shooter, scorer, and playmaker, and he also made his first All-Star team this year.  He had a good all-around season, but the only hiccup was that he struggled to make shots consistently in the postseason.

2022 Season Grade: A-
Projected 2023 Rating: 3 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Starter on the Toronto Raptors

OG Anunoby had a solid season with the Toronto Raptors this year.
(Photo:
Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports, via Fansided’s Raptors Rapture)

OG Anunoby
2021-22 (TOR): 17.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.5 SPG, 44 FG%, 36 3PT%, 75 FT%, 55 TS%, 14.8 PER, 3.7 WS

He only played 48 games in the regular season, and his shooting percentages were slightly down compared to last year, but Anunoby still had a solid, all-around season when healthy with the Raptors this past season.

2022 Season Grade: B
Projected 2023 Rating: 3 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Starter on the Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors’ forward, Scottie Barnes had a magnificent rookie season, and he won the 2021-22 NBA Rookie of the Year award.
(Photo:
Cole Burston/Getty Images, via Fansided’s Raptors Rapture)

Scottie Barnes
2021-22 (TOR): 15.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.1 SPG, 49 FG%, 30 3PT%, 73 FT%, 55 TS%, 16.3 PER, 6.6 WS

He had a terrific rookie season with the Raptors this year, and Scottie Barnes is a 6-9 point forward that won the Rookie of the Year award.  He showed a much-improved outside shot and scoring skills this year, which greatly complemented his skill set and very good feel for the game. 

He was already a very good playmaker and defender, and really intrigued with his unique skill package and versatility, and Barnes proved that he could step in and contribute onto a playoff team, which was impressive in itself.  He’ll need to continue to improve his three-point shot, but the future is very bright for Scottie Barnes, and he’s proven that the Raptors made a really good pick at 4 in the 2021 draft.

2022 Season Grade: A
Projected 2023 Rating: 2.5 stars (4 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Starter on the Toronto Raptors

Gary Trent Jr.
2021-22 (TOR): 18.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.7 SPG, 41 FG%, 38 3PT%, 85 FT%, 55 TS%, 14.7 PER, 5.6 WS

Trent excelled as a floor spacer and scorer for the Raptors this season.  He also significantly improved on the defensive end.  On the downside, he didn’t shoot the ball nearly as well in the playoffs, but Trent had a solid season this year.

2022 Season Grade: B-
Projected 2023 Rating: 2.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Starter on the Toronto Raptors

Thaddeus Young
2021-22 (SAS/TOR): 6.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 55 TS%, 17.0 PER, 2.2 WS

Young had a very good all-around year, and while he didn’t put up the counting stats that he used to put up, he was very efficient as a shooter and in making shots, and he excelled as a facilitator, rebounder, and defender this season.  He didn’t score very much in the playoffs, but Young did a lot of things well and provided a good presence to both the Spurs and Raptors this year.

2022 Season Grade: A-
Projected 2023 Rating: 2.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Rotation player on an NBA team
Side Note: Thad Young will be an unrestricted free agent (UFA) at the end of the 2021-22 NBA season.

Chris Boucher
2021-22 (TOR): 9.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 46 FG%, 30 3PT%, 78 FT%, 57 TS%, 17.9 PER, 6.0 WS

Boucher is a very athletic, talented big man, but he didn’t seem to have nearly as great of a season as he had last year.  His shooting percentages were drastically down in the regular season compared to last year, although he did score fairly efficiently.

He rebounded the ball well, but he didn’t get nearly as many assists or blocks, nor defend quite as well this past season.  On the bright side, Boucher shot the ball very well in the playoffs, and he reminded NBA teams and scouts that he is a very talented big man that can contribute to a playoff team.

2022 Season Grade: C
Projected 2023 Rating: 2.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Rotation player on an NBA team
Side Note: Boucher will be an unrestricted free agent (UFA) at the end of the 2021-22 NBA season.

Other Notable Players:

Precious Achiuwa

Achiuwa came in to the Raptors as a very athletic, rim running big man that flashed more skills in college than he may have been allowed to use during his rookie year for the Miami Heat.  The Toronto Raptors allowed him to showcase a more diverse skill set and game, to which there were arguably mixed results.

He had his bumps early on in the season, but Achiuwa consistently showed improvement with his three-point shot throughout the year, and he was able to display much improved playmaking skills.  On the other hand, he wasn’t quite as efficient of a scorer though, and he struggled with his free throw shooting.  He is a talented big man that has an array of promising skills and upside, and if he puts it all together, he could be a very good role player for the Raptors next season.

2022 Season Grade: C
Projected 2023 Rating: 2 stars (2.5 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Rotation player on the Toronto Raptors

Malachi Flynn

He didn’t get nearly as much playing time this year, but he ran the team well at the point, as he had a really good Assist-to-Turnover ratio, and he played better defense than last year.  Still, he hasn’t shot the ball well quite as hoped, and it’s a wonder if he will become a regular rotation player for the Raptors next season.

2022 Season Grade: C+
Projected 2023 Rating: 2 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on the Toronto Raptors

Khem Birch

He is an athletic, backup center that played a rim protector role on the Raptors this past season, but he didn’t see quite as much playing time as last year.

2022 Season Grade: C-
Projected 2023 Rating: 2 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on the Toronto Raptors

Dalano Banton

He is an athletic point forward that played very well in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, and he was able to get a decent amount of minutes as a rookie for the Raptors this season.  He played much more than anticipated, and he showed that he is a tall, athletic swingman that showed off solid playmaking and defensive skills.  He will still need to greatly improve his jump shot, but Banton proved that he can be an effective role player in the NBA.

2022 Season Grade: B+
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars (2.5 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on the Toronto Raptors

Other Players on the Roster:

Svi Mykhailiuk

He was able to make the Toronto Raptors’ roster, but the veteran sharpshooting wing didn’t shoot the ball nearly as well as before, albeit in considerably less minutes, and he didn’t really have much of an impact on his team this year.

2022 Season Grade: D+
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars (2 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on the Toronto Raptors

Isaac Bonga

He is a tall, athletic versatile point forward that has shown flashes of his potential in the NBA, as he had turned in a decent season when he was a sophomore in the NBA during the 2019-20 season, but Bonga has struggled to shoot well or get consistent playing time ever since.

He was able to make the Toronto Raptors’ roster this year, which is a testament to the talent he has, but while he played well in the G-League, he was unable to translate his performances from that level to the NBA recently.  He also didn’t play much for the Raptors at all, so he didn’t have much of an impact on his team this year.

2022 Season Grade: D-
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars (2 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on the Toronto Raptors
Side Note: Bonga will be an unrestricted free agent (UFA) at the end of the 2021-22 NBA season.

Justin Champagnie

He had an up and down season this year with both the Raptors in the NBA and the Raptors 905 in the G-League this season.  Champagnie shot the ball well in limited minutes with the big club, but he was inconsistent as a shooter in the G-League.  He showed off significantly better playmaking skills in the G-League, and he also rebounded well at both levels, but he will need to be a more consistent shooter and defender in games.

2022 Season Grade: C+
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars (2 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe roster player on the Toronto Raptors

Yuta Watanabe

He is a skilled swingman that showed off versatile scoring skills for the Raptors off the bench, but he also didn’t play very much, and he didn’t really stand out that much this past season.

2022 Season Grade: C-
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on an NBA team
Side Note: Watanabe will be an unrestricted free agent (UFA) at the end of the 2021-22 NBA season.

Armoni Brooks

He is a scoring combo guard that played well in limited minutes for the Houston Rockets last year, but Brooks struggled to make shots or score efficiently for them or the Toronto Raptors this past season.

2022 Season Grade: D-
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe roster player on the Toronto Raptors

David Johnson

He is a strong, mobile combo guard that struggled to make shots consistently in the G-League, and he also barely played for the Toronto Raptors this past season.  He turned in a disappointing year in the G-League, but he showed some playmaking and rebounding skills this year.  Still, he hasn’t really shown that he would be worthy of getting minutes at the NBA level, and it would be especially hard for him to earn them with the Raptors next year, especially if he doesn’t significantly improve next season.

2022 Season Grade: D-
Projected 2023 Rating: 1 star (1.5 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe roster player on the Toronto Raptors

Head Coach:

Head coach Nick Nurse did a very good job of leading the Toronto Raptors this year. He helped develop Scottie Barnes and get him the Rookie of the Year award, the Raptors won 48 games during the regular season, and the Raptors were able to make it to the NBA playoffs this year.
(Photo:
Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press, via CBC)

Nick Nurse
2021-22 (TOR): 48-34, 2-4 in the 2022 NBA Playoffs

He had a terrific season with the Raptors this year.  He was able to win far more than expected, and he did a really good job in working with Scottie Barnes, Fred VanVleet, and other players to get them to be impactful for their team and to win games.  The Raptors have instilled a very good, winning culture under his watch, and they have a good system and team that has a solid foundation in place for the future.

2022 Season Grade: A
Projected 2023 Rating: 3.5 stars

Projected 2023 Role: Head Coach of the Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors’ Projected 2022-23 Rotation:
C Pascal Siakam
F Scottie Barnes
F OG Anunoby
G Gary Trent Jr.
G Fred VanVleet
___________________
F Precious Achiuwa
C Khem Birch
F Dalano Banton
G Malachi Flynn
G Svi Myhailiuk

The Toronto Raptors’ Picks in the 2022 NBA Draft:
#33

The Toronto Raptors’ Projected 2023 Win-Loss Record:
43-39, 9th in the Eastern Conference

Their Projected Offseason Plan:

According to my projections, the Toronto Raptors over-achieved as they had great coaching, management, and they had a solid group of players that played together, and they had a good system in place.  The Raptors’ 2021-22 NBA season overall was a rousing success. In the very competitive Eastern Conference though, they may have to make minor tweaks to their roster to avoid crashing back down in the standings next year.  They will have to rely on internal growth, and they have a good group of core players in Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet.

They were a very well-coached, good defensive team that won a lot more than expected this year.  They will need to add more shooters and scorers, because they were 25th in field goal percentage, 20th in three-point percentage, and 20th in points per game as a team this year. 

They will have to decide if they want to or can bring back veterans Thaddeus Young and Chris Boucher, but the Raptors won’t have much money to spend in the offseason, as they will be projected to be capped out.  The Raptors have one pick, which will be the 33rd overall pick.  Regardless, over the years, head coach Nick Nurse has proven himself to be a very good coach, and he did win in his rookie year as the head coach of the Raptors during the 2018-19 NBA season when they had Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry. 

The Raptors’ faithful should trust in their coach, management, team, and culture, and Nick Nurse and Masai Ujiri have done a great job in leading their team since they arrived in Toronto, and both of them have accomplished a lot together.  Even if my projections have them as 9th in the East to close the regular season, I would probably pick the Raptors to win out in the play-in tournament games to advance to get either the 7th or 8th seed in the playoffs next season.

This analysis was made before the 2022 NBA Draft, and before free agency.  I went to No Trade Clause and Basketball-Reference for research purposes.  Thanks for reading.

error: Content is protected !!