The Toronto Raptors have long been an NBA afterthought. Can this be the year their talented, athletic core becomes more than just a novelty item?
Bolstering the bench with newcomers like D.J. Augustin, Tyler Hansbrough, Steve Novak, Austin Daye and Dwight Buycks is nice, but the Raptors are still overly dependent on their starting five.
That group isn't lacking ability between Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson. Yet, the first four players must especially take huge steps individually and as a group.
Reigning Executive of the Year Masai Ujiri re-joins the Raptors after a successful stint with the Denver Nuggets. He must decide whether this athletic core has the shooters, defense and overall unselfishness to be a long-term factor in the suddenly top-heavy Eastern Conference.
We look at the best and worst of the Raptors' offseason along with the biggest questions heading into 2014. We'll also detail Toronto's keys to a successful year while predicting its final position in the standings.