New Faces: There are plenty of new faces in the Raptors locker room, but they are pretty familiar to fans in New York. Toronto traded Andrea Bargnani to acquire 3-point specialist Steve Novak, veteran big man Marcus Camby, Quentin Richardson and a handful of draft picks, but only Novak remains on the roster.
The Raptors also brought in D.J. Augustin and Tyler Hansbrough -- no marquee moves but ones that add some depth to their young nucleus.
Though Toronto did not have a pick in this year's NBA Draft, the team did add a young guard, Dwight Buycks, who led the Las Vegas Summer League in both points and assists.
Departures: The obvious loss was Bargnani, now a member of the rival Knicks. But the team also cut ties with veteran Linas Kleiza, who was amnestied early in the offseason.
Augustin and Buycks replaced last year's crop of backup guards, Sebastian Telfair and John Lucas III.
Season Outlook: Don't sleep on the new-look Raptors, with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan starting in the backcourt, and Rudy Gay and Jonas Valanciunas leading the frontcourt.
Gay, traded to Toronto mid-season from the Memphis Grizzlies, underwent a left eye operation that should sure up any vision issues he faced last season. In addition, reports indicate Gay has added 10-15 pounds of muscle.
DeRozan will look to take another step forward in his fifth season. Last year he averaged 18 points per game, and head coach Dwane Casey said DeRozan has improved his long-range shooting this offseason.
And then there's Valanciunas, who will now be the focal point of Toronto's offense. If Valaniunas, recently named the Summer League MVP, can take a leap forward and begin to command double-teams in the low post, it should open lanes for Gay and DeRozan to get to the basket.
It's a dangerous word, but the Raptors possess potential. And whether it's this coming season or in the future, it must change from potential to reality.
The Raptors have made a lot of significant moves to revamp the roster and figure out their identity as a team. Now let's see if the pieces can thrive in the system.
Biggest Challenge Facing The Knicks: The Knicks are fortunate to match up extremely well against their divisional rivals to the north.
New York seemingly has an advantage at every position. The marquee matchup will be DeRozan against Iman Shumpert, where DeRozan has an offensive advantage but Shumpert has the defensive tenacity to stifle him.
When comparing the other positions, it's clear Carmelo Anthony has an edge over Gay and Tyson Chandler has the ability to slow down Valanciunas.
Oddly enough, the Knicks and Raptors split their season series in 2012-13. And despite upgrading the Raptors' recent moves, the Knicks should handle 2013-14 much better.
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