Toronto Raptors make the right moves to challenge in the East

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Re-sign Kyle Lowry, check. re-sign Greivis Vasquez, check, re-sign Patrick Patterson, check, add additional scoring and defense off the bench, got it.

The Raptors have done a nice job of keeping its core intact for a team that finished the final 64 games of the regular season 42-22. 

Turn around after trade

Things seemed to turn around for the Raptors once they made the in-season trade of Rudy Gay, Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy to Sacramento for Greivis Vasquez, Chuck Hayes, John Salmons and Patrick Patterson. At the time of that trade, the Raptors were 6-12 and looking at yet another disappointing season. But then DeMar DeRozan started playing up to his all-star potential, Kyle Lowry became the leader of the team, Terrence Ross had a breakout year and Jonas Valanciunas matured immensely. 

Although they bowed out in a tough seven game series in the first round of the playoffs to the Brooklyn Nets, the experience should help this team moving forward. The Raptors will have another year under their belt, they added some much needed perimeter scoring off the bench in Lou Williams and added a lock down defender in James Johnson in free agency. It looks as if they're taking a page out of the Spurs book, where continuity plays a key role.

Draft day regret?

The Raptors are a well balanced team that had five guys average double figures in points last season. They have a reliable back up point guard in Vasquez and Patterson thrived in his role coming off the bench. Lou Williams, acquired in a trade from the Atlanta Hawks for John Salmons, gives them instant offense off the bench, as he averaged a little over 10 points per game with the Hawks last year. It simply gives them a better option than Salmons.

The only real question mark is what they did with the 20th pick in this year's draft, snagging Brazilian shooting forward Bruno Caboclo. He is a project that will need a lot of time to develop, but with the recent roster moves, there's no need to rush him into the rotation. 

Playoff bad luck

After a six-year hiatus from the playoffs, and a tough loss in a seven game series, the Raptors will be hungry for more next year. Toronto has made it out of the first round of the playoffs just once in franchise's history, in 2000-2001.

The moves they made this offseason, could make that a second time. A very reliable and loyal fan base deserves it, other than frontrunning rapper Drake. 

Toronto Raptors

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