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Toronto Raptors 2023/24 training camp talking points: New coach, new point guard

Toronto Raptors missed out on the playoffs last season, losing to the Chicago Bulls in the play-in tournament. After losing their best player in the offseason, they will want to see their young players improve.

The Raptors are +110 to make the playoffs next season and they are +5000 to win the NBA Championship outright.

The Raptors have a new coach in Darko Rajakovic, previously an assistant with the Memphis Grizzlies who replaced championship-winning coach Nick Nurse after five years in charge.

This offseason, Toronto fell short of landing their top trade target as Milwaukee Bucks managed to make a deal for Damian Lillard, but this is still a new-look Raptors side and there are some questions over this team going into the new season.

We’ve picked out some of the key talking points ahead of the start of their training camp.

When does the Toronto Raptors’ training camp begin?

The Raptors are due to meet up for their first day of their preseason training camp on Tuesday, October 3.

Who do the Toronto Raptors play in preseason?

Toronto play their first preseason game on October 8 as they face Sacramento Kings. The Raptors are the home team and the game will take place in Canada, but they will face the Kings at Rogers Arena in Vancouver rather than their usual Scotiabank Arena home.

Australian team Cairns Taipans visit Toronto on October 15 and the Raptors complete their preseason schedule with another two games against NBA rivals, facing the Bulls in Chicago on October 17 and then hosting Washington Wizards three days later.

Who are the new faces for the Toronto Raptors?

Toronto may have missed out on Lillard but they have managed to bring in a few new players and Dennis Schroder should have a big role to play in the season ahead. The German point guard helped his country win the FIBA World Cup over the summer, and is gearing up for his 11th season in the league.

Schroder signed as a free agent after spending last year with the Los Angeles Lakers, with Jalen McDaniels and Garrett Temple also joining as free agents. 

Temple has spent the last two seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans and the guard will probably be a bench player for Toronto. 

McDaniels was drafted by Charlotte Hornets in 2019 and split last season between the Hornets and Philadelphia 76ers. The forward will also probably act as a reserve player at Toronto.

Who are the Toronto Raptors rookies?

Toronto have two rookies going into the new season as they selected Gradey Dick with the 13th pick of the 2023 NBA Draft and then brought in Markquis Nowell on a two-way deal after he initially went undrafted.

Dick should see plenty of game time next season, while Nowell will feature for G League team Raptors 905 - but should be confident of forcing his way into contention for the Raptors after some strong performances in the Summer League.

How will Toronto Raptors cope without Fred VanVleet?

This is the start of a new era for the Raptors as Fred VanVleet departed for Houston Rockets over the summer after turning down a new deal.

The 29-year-old had been with the team since 2016 and was a key member of their championship-winning team, earning an All-Star selection in 2022.

VanVleet was the player who ran the Raptors offense so they need to find someone to fill that void. Schroder is likely to be that player this season.

Another option is 2022 Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes, especially if he can raise his levels further after failing to really show significant signs of progress in his second NBA season.

What can we expect from new Toronto Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic?

Darko Rajakovic is preparing for his first season as a head coach but does have plenty of experience in the NBA, having served as an assistant at Oklahoma City Thunder, Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies.

Rajakovic, 44, had five games in charge of the Grizzlies as interim head coach in the 2021/22 season and finished that stint with a 4-1 record, a run that included a win over Golden State Warriors.

He is an unproven quantity as a head coach, but he has spent time as an assistant for successful teams which should help him forge an identity for the new-look Raptors.

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