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Toronto Raptors: 2 Studs and 1 Dud from Preseason Opener

Founded in 1995, the Toronto Raptors are a Canadian professional basketball team. As the name suggests, they are based out of Toronto. The Toronto Raptors are one of the most popularly lauded teams that compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA). They are a member of the NBA league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Divison.

In their preseason opener, the mighty Toronto Raptors took home a dominant win against their opponent, the Philadephia 76ers. Scottie Barnes was the main attraction in that game; however, the performance of other players, such as Justin Champagnie, Delano Banton, and Yuta Watanabe, helped the team establish their preseason record with a 1-0.

If you have been following the National Basketball Association matches for quite some time now, you know that the Raptors are the trailblazers of the positionless style of basketball. Even though there may be some rough iron edges that need straightening, the Raptors never disappoint!

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So far, the Raptors have shown remarkable resilience on the defence and appear highly motivated when they are on the offence. Overall, they turn in a solid performance every time they are on the court! Especially when OG Anunoby led the team with 21 points, and Barnes carried it forward by scoring 13 points. One thing's for sure, the Toronto Raptors fans are definitely overjoyed!

Most of the Toronto Raptors players did a great job during Monday's match against the Philadelphia 76ers. However, two players caught the fans' eyes and one who needs to up his game to make the roster this season.

Stud: Yuta Watanabe and his exceptional performance for the Toronto Raptors on Monday

26-year-old Japanese professional Basketball player, Yuta Watanabe who graduated from the 2018 NBA Draft Class, shows great untapped potential for the game. He played basketball in college for the George Washington Colonials in the United States. Also, he became the first Japanese-born student-athlete to win an NCAA Divison I Basketball scholarship.

Currently, Yuta Watanabe is signed to the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association. Even though Yuta Watanabe is fighting with some of his fellow players on non-guaranteed deals, he didn't let that affect his performance. On Monday's match, he had 10 points and 7 rebounds in just 17 minutes of the game. This shows that he has worked hard to improve his game.

Yuta Watanabe began last year as the intriguing defensive player who still needed a lot of work. Although he showed great promise from day one, fans and supporters of the Toronto Raptors felt that he needed some work on his offence. Watanabe proved himself with Monday's game against the rival Philadelphia 76ers.

He nailed both of his 3-pointers and attacked the hoops basket with a more aggressive mindset than he has ever displayed on the court. His progress from last year is a massive jump, and no one can deny that he has taken in the feedback and worked hard to improve.

Yuta Watanabe's game on Monday was everything fans and the Toronto Raptors head coach, Nick Nurse, wanted to see from him.

Thankfully, his hard work paid off. After being impressed by Watanabe's performance, head coach Nick Nurse said that Watanabe is undoubtedly in the rotation, and this is also a sign that he has many roster hopefuls coming for him. That means Yuta Watanabe has probably already secured one of the finals spots on the roster.

Yuta Watanabe seems like one of the basketball players who can make a huge impact as a rotation piece. Besides, Nick Nurse is giving him preferential treatment, compared to the other non-guaranteed deals.

Therefore, this can only mean good things, and we are likely to see Yuta back in the fold season.

Stud: Barnes, Banton, and Champagnie on Monday's game

Scottie Barnes and Dalano Banton were nothing short of exceptional on Monday's match, and they deserve to be lauded for their performance in the Toronto debuts. Apart from them, the player who caught everyone off-guard was Justin Champagnie.

Initially, he was in the NBA league on a two-year contract, but he made a compelling case for playing more time on Monday. 20-year-old Justin Champagnie is a double-double machine looking at Pitt. He recorded 17 points and 10 bounds.

We don't know yet if he will get rotation time, but his versatility, energy, and motivation do appeal to Nick Nurse. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

Dud: Freddie Gillespie needs to up his game

Last but not least, watchers of the Monday game are certain that the Toronto Raptors centre Freddie Gillespie needs to up his game. If there was one player who was disappointed that night, it was 24-year-old Freddie Gillespie. Despite getting into the game early, there was no energy from his side.

Fans have seen Freddie Gillespie perform better in the past. This can only mean that he has fallen off the game. Although, we hope it is only temporary.

On Monday, Freddie Gillespie was one of only two Toronto Raptors who were in the negative plus-minus. He just played 7 minutes and went out with a record of four personal fouls within one rebound.

Despite his upsetting performance on Monday, there is still a high chance Freddie Gillespie might still make the roster. This is because the team lacks frontcourt depth. Fans know that Freddie is anything but a bad player. It has been quite a while since fans have seen him really assert his strength, but they know there is still enough potential left in Freddie.

The Raptors roster still has a couple of chances left to sustain their game. For starters, Yuta Watanabe and Justin Champagnie need to keep producing on the offence front, and Freddie Gillespie needs to get it together.

In the end, what happens with the Raptors roster can only be confirmed by Nurse. It's a good thing that fans trust him!

Meanwhile, if you are an ardent Canadian NBA fan who wants to place bets on their home team, we have got you covered with NBA betting odds in Canada! You can place your bet before the game begins and add an extra level of enjoyment to the high-energy proceeding in the court.