4) Depth wins the day
Toronto Raptors fans were quite rightly shocked and saddened, by the departures of DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas. After all, these were two extremely likeable players, who helped the team enjoy their most sustained period of success in franchise history.
In addition, everyone could tell DeRozan and Valanciunas genuinely enjoyed living in Toronto, which means a lot to the locals. Despite being a world-class major city, Torontonians can surprisingly often still have a bit of an inferiority complex, desperately wanting people to like them and stick around.
Regardless, most fans must now realise that as ruthless as Masai Ujiri has been, it was necessary to take the franchise to the next level. And it was there for all to see on Friday night; the quality depth of this roster is extremely impressive.
And then there’s Pascal Siakam, who continues to develop at an impressive rate and can no longer be considered a secret weapon. It was there for all to see again on Friday night as he scored 22 points, while adding six assists and three boards.
More than the stats though, you can see how much Siakam has grown; how much confidence he has in himself. Along with the rest of the roster, it makes the Raptors a scary proposition for any team these days.