Toronto Raptors: 14 bold predictions for the 2017-18 season

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 27: DeMar DeRozan /
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Toronto Raptors
TORONTO, ON – MAY 05: Kyle Lowry /

9) The bench flounders

The Raptors bench is a source of concentrated youth and with Lowry being the oldest player on the roster, there’s no veteran players to guide them. Every mistake will be left to the perpetrator to chastise themselves. Casey can be the one who helps mold the bench, but it’s always harder to take advice from an authority figure than you peer.

Criticism coming from the best players on the team ring hollow and seeking guidance from someone who’s played similar total minutes as you in your career is rarely fruitful.  Wright, Siakam, Poeltl, Nogueira and Caboclo have never been relied on to show up everyday and contribute to wins, this year that changes. This year they flounder.

TORONTO, ON – APRIL 24: Norman Powell
TORONTO, ON – APRIL 24: Norman Powell /

10) Norman Powell wins 6th man of the year

Norman ‘Stormin’ Powell is the archetype of every 6th man of the year ever; a guard that comes off the bench to energize his team either through shooting, defence or change of pace. Powell does all three of those things.

His energy is as radiant as his play is erratic. Lightning in transition and thunderous at the rim, Powell’s been a game changer in multiple playoff games and series. Now without anyone in his way for minutes, Powell will have a concerted role within the Raptors offence, where he can bring that energy every night instead of writhing on the bench for an opportunity.

Last season, Powell’s increased minutes due to DeMar DeRozan‘s injury inflated his stats while maintaining his efficiency. Powell went from a meager 6.1 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1 assist while shooting 41 percent from the field and 27 percent from deep off the bench, to 15.6 points, 2 assists and 4 boards while hitting 50 from the field and 39.7 percent from deep in the starting lineup. Sure Powell got to play a lot side Lowry as the start, but as the 6th man he’ll have the same opportunity, why shouldn’t he flourish?