The Raptors have struggled to live up to expectations on any front this season. Fred VanVleet is no different, with the scrappy 6-footer feeling like a shell of himself for extended stretches early on. But, we have seen the light: still a bonkers pull-up shooter who competes hard and makes smart, reliable decisions with the ball, VanVleet has plenty of competitive basketball left in the tank.
A gifted 6-foot-8 playmaker who can read the floor from every angle, Josh Giddey has emerged as a genuine foundational piece for OKC. He continues to show improvement as a scorer, weaponizing his height and slick handles to evade defenders and feast on touch shots inside the arc.
Tyler Herro, bucket-getter extraordinaire and steadily improving playmaker. Now elevated to full-time starter in Miami, the results have been mostly favorable. Herro remains an unavoidable liability on defense, but the pressure he puts on the opposition as a scorer makes up for it.
Bojan Bogdanovic has been the No. 1 option in Detroit for most of the season, and he has fared quite well considering the odd circumstances. His deep 3-point range, unshakable confidence, and veteran savvy would make him the ideal third or fourth star on a lot of contenders.
It has been a difficult season for Deandre Ayton. After the Suns flamed out of the playoffs, it felt like a new home was virtually inevitable. But Phoenix brought him back, repaired the relationship, and pushed forward. The results have been erratic, with Ayton struggling to break into that next level of productivity. Even so, the talent is blatant. Not many bigs possess Ayton’s blend of raw power, refined footwork, and burgeoning skill.