The Raptors made a couple of minor roster moves on Friday by signing guard Jerel McNeal and forward Chris Wright. Realistically, both are probably being brought in as extra bodies for training camp, and nothing more.
With the recent re-signing of Jamaal Magloire and signing of Dominic McGuire, the Raptors’ roster now features 18 players, which means that three players will likely be shown the door before the season starts. In all likelihood, those three players will be McNeal, Wright and Magloire, although since none of us actually know the ins and outs of the contracts that have been signed, I would guess that it’s not that cut and dry and that players like McGuire and even Alan Anderson could still be roster casualties before the 2012-13 campaign tips off against the Pacers on Halloween night.
In any event, here’s how I would peg the Raptors’ depth chart heading into training camp, which starts on October 2 in Halifax after Media Day in Toronto on October 1.
A lot of the Raptors’ players are interchangeable between a couple of positions. We know DeRozan, Fields, Ross and Anderson are wings, and could play the two or the three. Kleiza can play some small four, Acy can play both forward positions, Amir Johnson can play the four or the five, and Bargnani will regrettably still play some centre for Toronto.
In addition, while Amir is ahead of Valanciunas and Gray on my centre depth chart, I expect to see both Johnson and Gray get some starts at the five until Jonas can step in on a full-time basis. For the most part, this depth chart is somewhat of a rough draft heading into camp that we can and will adjust over time.
I’m sure Dwane Casey will tell us that starting spots are up for grabs and that players like Calderon and Kleiza will be given a chance, but barring any major developments, shortcomings or spectacular training camp and pre-season performances, we’re all pretty confident in the fact that if they’re healthy, Lowry, DeRozan, Fields, Bargnani and one of Johnson or Gray will start on opening night.
Some questions on my mind heading into camp are whether Valanciunas can push the rest of the bigs for early minutes, whether Ross can put pressure on DeRozan from the get-go, whether Ed Davis can supplant Amir Johnson in the overall bigs rotation and whether Quincy Acy can break into that regular rotation.
These questions and others will soon be answered, as we’re now just over a week away from the start of camp.
In case you haven’t ‘liked’ RaptorBlog’s facebook page yet (seriously, get on that) and missed it the other night, the Raptors’ official youtube channel released the following video:
I’m not going to pretend that because they’re featured working out in a 20-second teaser, the Raptors are working earlier or harder than any other team right now, but I will say that as a Raptors fan, an NBA fan, and a basketball fan in general, this should get your juices flowing in anticipation of the season that’s now just around the corner.