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article imageToronto Raptors News: What's next for Canada's favorite team?

By Larry Seely     May 28, 2016 in Sports
Toronto - The 2016 NBA season came to a close yesterday for the Toronto Raptors and after the most successful year in franchise, what's next for a team that could look very different on paper heading into next year?
First and foremost is trying to keep shooting guard DeMar DeRozen from leaving. ESPN has reported that the former USC star wants to stay in Canada, but being from Southern California, you know the LA Lakers will make a hard push to get the 26-year-old to come back home and help lead the purple and gold back into the playoffs.
The next question is the young power forward that took the league by storm over the last month. Bismack Biyombo showed he plays best on the big stage and the 23-year-old probably has earned a big payday with his play through the Eastern Conference Finals.
Rumors have already started that the free agent center could earn a $60 million contract this summer, but despite all the hype and hustle, his offensive game is still a work in progress and teams from around the league can only hope he continues to grow as a player, or risk making a big investment on a good defensive player.
One thing is certain, if these two young men leave, the front office will be busy this summer looking for replacements, but either way help is coming in the form of two first round draft picks in next months NBA Draft.
While this team and the city showed plenty of heart over the last few months, a lack of depth in the front court was a detriment. This summer should see the inclusion for some big bodies and the latest mocks back that statement up.
CBS Sports has suggested Henry Ellenson of Marquette as the top option with the ninth overall selection. The 19-year-old will likely play power forward at the next level and has the athleticism to stretch the floor, but his best asset is his play in the paint, something that's desperately needed, especially if Biyombo takes his game elsewhere.
Stephen Zimmerman of UNLV didn't play much as a freshmen, but when healthy, he showed flashes of brilliance. The young seven-footer is a great risk-reward pick late in round one and with such a high upside, a player that could make a decent contribution coming off the bench next season.
It was a great year for the franchise as a whole and with another strong summer there's no reason to believe next year can't be even better, but this squad can't rest on its laurels, they must push themselves to reach that next level needed to win a championship, but with the fans support, 2017 could be their year.
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