5 Questions Toronto Raptors Must Answer to Solidify Contender Status

5 Questions Toronto Raptors Must Answer to Solidify Contender Status

Toronto Raptors 5 Questions
USA TODAY Sports- Tom Szczerbowski

The Toronto Raptors are going back to the playoffs this season, and so it seemed prudent to look at what they need to prove in order to be viewed as a contender. The Eastern conference is certainly weak enough for there to be another challenger, and the Raptors seem as good an option as any. Here are five questions that they must answer in order to prove themselves.

5. Can DeMar DeRozan Turn Into Canada's Kobe Bryant?

Toronto Raptors 5 Questions
USA TODAY Sports- Tom Szczerbowski

5. Can DeMar DeRozan Turn Into Canada's Kobe Bryant?

Toronto Raptors 5 Questions
USA TODAY Sports- Tom Szczerbowski

DeRozan has emerged as an All Star, but questions still remain about what the Raptors can achieve in the playoffs with him as their best player. The days are long gone when Kobe Bryant torched them for 80, but maybe DeRozan can help the Raptors take the next step towards a championship.

4. Landry Fields is On this Team?

Toronto Raptors 5 Questions
USA TODAY Sports- Tom Szczerbowski

4. Landry Fields is On this Team?

Toronto Raptors 5 Questions
USA TODAY Sports- Tom Szczerbowski

I feel bad for the Stanford graduate, because it seems like he has gotten traded five time in about three years. I know it is not quite that high, but hopefully Landry gets to settle down a bit after this season. The Linsanity days seem like so long ago, but it still happened and they can never take that away from Fields. His couch will forever be known in basketball lore.

3. Will Jonas Valanciunas Become a Low Post Threat?

Toronto Raptors 5 Questions
USA TODAY Sports- Tom Szczerbowski

3. Will Jonas Valanciunas Become a Low Post Threat?

Toronto Raptors 5 Questions
USA TODAY Sports- Tom Szczerbowski

This is the true key to the Raptors becoming a real contender, and so Canadian basketball fans should keep a close eye on Valanciunas' development as a player. If he can command a double-team on the low block, then DeRozan will have a lot more open shots within the flow of the game.

2. Can Dwane Casey Continue His Rapid Improvement?

Toronto Raptors 5 Questions
USA TODAY Sports- Tom Szczerbowski

2. Can Dwane Casey Continue His Rapid Improvement?

Toronto Raptors 5 Questions
USA TODAY Sports- Tom Szczerbowski

This certainly happened quickly did it not? Dwane Casey has quickly turned this team from a joke into a playoff team, and I'm excited to see where he can take them next. Casey should get some votes for Coach of the Year, but I have to go with Gregg Popovich on that one.

1. Can They Beat the Pacers?

Toronto Raptors 5 Questions
USA TODAY Sports- Tom Szczerbowski

1. Can They Beat the Pacers?

Toronto Raptors 5 Questions
USA TODAY Sports- Tom Szczerbowski

To me, the Raptors are not quite ready to beat the Miami Heat, but they just might be able to take down the suddenly fragile Indiana Pacers. If they can do that, then they will have firmly announced themselves as Eastern Conference contenders.

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