Toronto Raptors: 3 things they must do to advance to Eastern Finals

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 22: DeMar DeRozan /

The Toronto Raptors displayed in the first round that they have multiple areas to improve on, if they want to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. We look at the biggest three issues.

The Washington Wizards brought to light the three biggest areas the Toronto Raptors need to improve on. Those areas are; turnovers, offensive/defensive rebounding and more production out of the so called “bench mob”.

The Raptors averaged 14.2 turnovers in the six-game series against the Wizards. This number would have been larger if it weren’t for the combined 16 turnovers during Game 5 and 6. The Raptors particularly cleaned up their sloppiness with the rock in Game 6 with only having six turnovers.

In comparison, through Games 1 to 4, the Raptors averaged 16.8 turnovers. This number is the result of the Raptors playing sloppy basketball in Game 3 and 4. The team put up 18 turnovers in both games, which was the main reason why they lost those contests.

Even though the Raptors have cleaned up the turnovers, they’re now giving the other team second-chance points by not rebounding the ball effectively. This has only been seen in Game 5 and 6.

In Game 5, the Raptors gave up 14 offensive rebounds to the Wizards. Then in Game 6, they allowed 16 offensive rebounds. These numbers are troubling heading into the second round. Even though neither Cleveland or Indiana are averaging a lot of offensive rebounds, you can’t give teams those second opportunities.

The Raptors will need to improve their defence heading into the next round, to take some pressure off their offence.

The bench for the Raptors has been inconstant all series against the Wizards. In Game 1 and 2, they produced 42 points. But in Games 3 and 4, they only averaged 27 points. Even when Fred VanVleet returned for Game 6, the bench wasn’t as effective as they were during the regular season.

More from Toronto Raptors

VanVleet had only played three minutes in the series before Game 6, because of a shoulder injury. The 24-year-old is the quarterback of the second unit for the Raptors. They have missed his presence on the court. While he’s not just a threat to put up a double-double, he’s another challenge for opposing teams in the fourth quarter.

The Raptors’ bench should bounce back to regular form with VanVleet returning to full-health. But they will also need guys like C.J. Miles to perform well around him.

Overall, regardless of who the Raptors play in the second round, if they improve in these areas they will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Next: Time for Raptors to take the next step

What do you think about the Toronto Raptors’ performance so far? Share your comments below and with Thomas on Twitter.