The reigning NBA champions, to put it lightly have seen a few impact players depart since lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy. None of the new additions to the roster will be able to replace Kawhi Leonard, it shouldn’t even have to be said.
Masai Ujiri made a few moves after Leonard and Green’s departures with the small amount of cap room he had. Which included signing Cameron Payne, Stanley Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and international free agent Matt Thomas.
It almost feels like OG Anunoby is a new addition since he was absent in the playoffs due to appendicitis. But he doesn’t count, he is my vote for most improved Raptors player though.
The addition that will make the most impact for the Raptors this season will be Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
Hollis-Jefferson is still only 24 and doesn’t turn 25 until January. During his four years with the Brooklyn Nets Hollis-Jefferson has shown glimpses of being a productive wing when given proper minutes. His best season was the 2017-18 campaign where he averaged 13.9/6.8/2.5 while getting 28.2 minutes per game (MPG).
Last year his production dropped but so did his minutes, he averaged 20.9 MPG and had a stat line of 8.9/5.3/1.6. He has never been a three point threat, made evident by his .184 shooting percentage last season so don’t expect that.
But his athleticism and previous scoring ability shows the potential of a successful secondary scoring option for the Raptors. In 2017-18 he shot just over 47% from two point range on a poor Nets team. If he can duplicate that this year or even improve he can be a solid option for Toronto.
A low risk financially
The risk is low with Hollis-Jefferson, if he struggles like last year he won’t be a financial burden as he’s on a one year, $2,500,000 contract. So if he does bounce back and have a great season he will likely not be on the Raptors beyond this year. Which is fine.
Raptors fans might remember Hollis-Jefferson’s successful 2017-18 campaign due to his stat line of 15.0/8.8/1.8 across four games against us.
He is a low risk investment that could pay off for the Raptors in their title defending season.