Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors have officially seen their standout 2022 season come to a close after crashing out of the postseason last night. While this wasn’t the result many fans had hoped would come true, it’s hard to call this campaign anything less than a massive success.
The Raptors won 48 games and earned the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference while helping Scottie Barnes earn Rookie of the Year honors. Considering that they didn’t even make the play-in the year before, Toronto’s rapid improvement has set themselves up for a very promising future.
Even with that caveat, the Raptors are going into the offseason with some holes that need fixing. Ujiri is expected to completely remake the team’s bench as they try to get a more robust second unit that could be more conducive to contending alongside some of the Eastern Conference’s best.
These 4 Raptors players might be wearing different jerseys next season. Be them seldom-used reserves or veterans who could be ditched in favor of someone with more potential, fans need to brace for any one of these 4 having a new home by the time next year rolls around.
4 Toronto Raptors who will not be back next year.
4. Svi Mykhailiuk
Mykhailiuk was signed late in the offseason, but he managed to quickly endear himself to fans by providing instant offense up the bench. However, he quickly lost his spot in the rotation. It’s probably best for both parties if they just go their separate ways when the season ends.
Mykhailiuk scored just 4.6 points per game this season, playing more than 10 minutes in a game just twice since the start of the new year. Even though he was billed as a microwave scorer, Mykhailiuk shot just 39% from the field and slightly under 31% from 3-point range this season.
The Toronto Raptors need to part with Svi Mykhailiuk.
The Raptors will likely spend what limited financial space they have on making sure that their standout guards in the starting five are backed up by quality shooters. Mykhailiuk is likely not going to fall back into Nick Nurse’s good graces throughout one offseason given his production.
Mykhailiuk needs to go somewhere that will give him enough minutes to rediscover his shot and work out the kinks that plagued him in the regular season. Toronto just does not seem like a good fit for him at this moment in time. Still, his NBA career is far from finished.
3. David Johnson
Admit it, some of you forgot all about Johnson. That’s excusable. On top of the fact he was not promoted as heavily as Dalano Banton despite getting picked right after him, Johnson has spent the entire season down in Raptors 905 while Banton and undrafted rookie Justin Champagnie saw some time with the big league club.
Johnson has a whole two minutes to his name in the NBA. While many rookies saw extended minutes during the COVID-19 outbreak in December, Johnson was nursing an injury at the time. He tested positive right after coming back. From the way things appear, Johnson probably is not going to factor into Toronto’s 2022-23 plans.
David Johnson has not impressed the Toronto Raptors.
Johnson didn’t even dominate the G League to the degree that Banton did. Johnson did not turn the ball over frequently, but he averaged just 11.5 points per game on 41/32/81 splits. The lack of quality outside scoring ability was a concern at Louisville. He hasn’t made a ton of strides in that area.
Banton and Champagnie aren’t perfect players, but they showed Nurse more than Johnson did in his limited exposure. With Toronto poised to add more guards in the offseason, Ujiri might decide to cut bait with his second-round pick and start fresh with a new crop of youngsters.
2. Khem Birch
Birch earned himself a three-year contract after impressing down in Tampa. While the Raptors gave him that contract with the expectation that he would be a nice veteran presence down low to offset Toronto’s funky roster construction, he has been a serious disappointment.
Birch is averaging just 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game this season. This is right on par with what he was doing in Orlando before he was bought out. On top of the fact that Birch has been a negative asset on offense, he is such an incongruous fit on this roster.
The Toronto Raptors should try to trade for Khem Birch?
Birch is not to be an attractive target due to the fact he is owed so much money, but the Raptors can’t keep starting a player that is such an incongruous fit on the roster. It makes for some odd lineups and stymies the development of youngster Precious Achiuwa off of the bench.
Birch gave it everything he had this season. He was constantly struggling with injuries while trying to get into a rhythm. However, he just isn’t the right backup big at this moment in time for this team. He’ll need to look somewhere else if he wants to recapture the stats he had in the Tampa season.
1. Chris Boucher
Boucher has been one of the crown jewels of Toronto’s developmental culture after evolving from a fringe NBA player into a reliable rotation presence who has flipped the outcome of games. However, Toronto’s financial situation could push Boucher out of the door in free agency.
Boucher may have recovered from an early-season slump, but his scoring, rebounding, and shot-blocking numbers are down across the board. Boucher is going to turn 30 next year, which might give Toronto some pause for thought as they try to sign him to another multi-year deal.
Chris Boucher might leave the Toronto Raptors.
While Boucher was dominant in Toronto’s playoff finale, they will likely need to decide between either the stringy Canadian or the wily veteran in Thad Young. Based on immediate value, Young could be a better player who won’t command as many years in his new deal.
Boucher has been everything Toronto could have hoped for, but it might be time to turn the page and move forward with Achiuwa and Young. Boucher will get a hefty contract elsewhere, as someone that can rebound and finish like he can will be held in very high esteem.