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NBA 2017-18 Eastern Conference Outlook: People shouldn't overlook the Raptors

NBA 2017-18 Eastern Conference Outlook: People shouldn't overlook the Raptors

CSN is looking around the league as we prepare for the 2017-18 NBA season. Today, we break down the Toronto Raptors' outlook...

2016-17 record: 51-31, 3rd in East
Coach: Dwayne Casey
Key additions: SF C.J. Miles, SG K.J. McDaniels
Key losses: SF P.J. Tucker, PF Patrick Patterson, SF DeMarre Carroll
Projected lineup: PG Kyle Lowry, SG DeMar DeRozan, SF C.J. Miles, PF Serge Ibaka, C Jonas Valanciunas

Biggest questions:

1. How will Lowry bounce back?

The 2016-71 season was statistically the best of Lowry's career, as his 22.4 points per game, 46.4 percent shooting from the field and 41.2 percent from three were all personal highs. However, injuries to his right wrist and left ankle greatly affected how his season ended. He missed 21 regular season games due to the wrist and two playoff games because of the ankle. 

Lowry was a free agent this summer, but decided to re-sign with the Raptors on a three-year, $90 million deal. He's 31 and now playing under his first big contract. It will be interesting to see how he deals with the pressure that comes with that.

[RELATED: BROOKS KNOWS RE-SIGNING STARS ISN'T EASY]

2. What impact will Ibaka make?

Ibaka joined the Raptors in a trade deadline deal last February. After acquiring Ibaka, Toronto went 19-8 the rest of the regular season, a 58-win pace over a full 82 games. That was the second-best record in the NBA during that span behind only the Warriors and much of it was played without Lowry running point. Now after Ibaka re-signed on a three-year, $64 million deal, the Raptors get to see him in the mix for a full season.

3. Are the Raptors being overlooked?

The Raptors brought back Lowry and Ibaka, and already have DeMar DeRozan who made All-NBA in 2016-17, so the chances seem good the Raptors will be right back near the top of the Eastern Conference this upcoming season. Despite missing Lowry for a quarter of the year, they won 51 games last season and finished third in the East. If he is healthy, there's no reason to think they can't get back to being the team that won 56 games the year before. With all the attention on the Cavs and Celtics as the two top teams in the East from last year, and with all the praise the Wizards and Bucks are getting for being young teams on the rise, don't forget about the Raptors who probably as much of a chance to take advantage of an increasingly thin conference as anyone.

[RELATED: CAN WALL FOLLOW THROUGH ON KOBE'S CHALLENGE?]

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NBA 2K18 leaks new jerseys for many teams including the Wizards

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USA Today Sports

NBA 2K18 leaks new jerseys for many teams including the Wizards

NBA fans got a glimpse at unreleased alternate jerseys from a host of teams on Thursday thanks to a leak by the video game NBA 2K18 and the Wizards are included in that mix.

NBA 2K happens to do this periodically and often the jerseys are exactly right or close to official. It happened earlier this season with other teams, notably the Timberwolves who went through a color and logo change.

Here's a look at the one leaked for the Wizards, one that falls in line with the 'City Edition' alternate that has yet to be released officially.

Keep in mind this is not official, but here you go:

<<<CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE NBA 2K18 JERSEY LEAKS>>>

(Photo via @itscorevisuals, h/t @BulletsForever)

This recent round of leaks revealed jerseys for many teams including the Jazz, Magic and Lakers. See them here:

<<<CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE NBA 2K18 JERSEY LEAKS>>>

 

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Tomas Satoransky continues to play at backup point guard for Wizards even with John Wall back

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USA Today Sports

Tomas Satoransky continues to play at backup point guard for Wizards even with John Wall back

John Wall's return wasn't the only piece of point guard-related news for the Wizards on Wednesday night.

In their 93-87 win over the Memphis Grizzlies, it was Tomas Satoransky and not Tim Frazier who first emerged from the bench to spell Wall with 5:10 on the clock. Satoransky ended up with 15 minutes in the game compared to five for Frazier.

Before Wall had platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment and viscosupplementation injections in his left knee, Satoransky had appeared in only nine of the Wizards' 18 games. Frazier played in all of them and averaged 16.6 minutes. 

Wall's absence opened the door for Satoransky to play as the primary backup behind Frazier and he thrived. In nine games, Satoransky averaged 8.4 points, 4.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds. He shot 52.9 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from three.

[RELATED: WALL SHOWS WIZARDS EXACTLY WHAT THEY WERE MISSING]

He was +44 and, most importantly, he committed just two total turnovers while averaging 23.1 minutes per game. Satoransky is second in the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio (6.00) among players who have appeared in at least 10 games.

Satoransky, 26, has long been appreciated by Wizards fans for his potential, ever since he was selected in the second round of the 2012 draft. He's 6-foot-7 and can jump out of the gym. Now he's shown the ability to play smart and limit mistakes and it appears to have earned him a larger role, even with Wall back.

"I felt good about it," Satoransky said of his nine-game audition. "I was the first guy coming off the bench. I didn't play very well today, but it's good to have the recognition of those games we had."

[PODCAST: DREW GOODEN TELLS STORIES ABOUT WIZARDS, KANSAS]

As Satoransky noted, he didn't have his best game against Memphis. He had three points, two rebounds, two assists and a turnover. He was also 1-for-3 from the free throw line, as the Wizards shot 12-for-24 as a team.

The backend of head coach Scott Brooks' rotation can be hard to predict, as sometimes a given night will depend on matchups. Players like Mike Scott, Jason Smith and others have gone missing and sometimes after stretches where it appeared they played well.

One game doesn't guarantee that Satoransky has a new official role and that this will continue. But it was certainly a good sign for the second-year guard, a sign that he earned some trust from the coaching staff while Wall was out.

"Hopefully I can keep pushing," he said.

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