The defending champions Toronto Raptors will open the new NBA season when they host the New Orleans Pelicans at the Scotiabank Arena on 23rd October 2019 at 00:00 UTC time.
Last season was nothing short of a miracle for the Raptors. Aided by the arrival of Kawhi Leonard, they made a run to claim the first NBA title in franchise history. Toronto beat the Golden State Warriors 4-2 in the NBA Finals to claim the honor. Leonard starred in the series, and he was named the Finals MVP. Aside from Leonard, other new players like Marc Gasol also had a key role in the Raptors’ run.
Despite taking the Raptors to glory, Leonard did not return in free agency. He teamed up with Paul George at the Los Angeles Clippers. His departure will be a huge loss to Toronto, but they will have to cope with the players at their disposal. The likes of Kyle Lowry, Gasol and Serge Ibaka will have to take up bigger roles. Coach Nick Nurse has a deep squad with him, which should be useful in the long regular season.
Fred VanVleet had a brilliant Finals series, and he should take up the starting spot after Danny Green left the franchise. Pascal Siakam took some huge steps last season, and he will continue to grow this season as well. One of the problems the Raptors face is expiring contracts. Lowry, Ibaka, VanVleet, and Gasol all have tricky contract situation, and the Raptors will need to address it quickly.
They will come up against a team on the opposite end of the curve in the New Orleans Pelicans. Toronto is a side filled with veterans who just won a championship. On the other hand, the Pelicans have a core of youngsters trying to lead the franchise to that level. They traded Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers in a huge trade this summer. In return, they got Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and several draft picks. In addition to these, they have got the first pick in the 2019 draft and selected Zion Williamson.
Ball and Ingram were both starters on the Lakers roster, and they will be key components of this Pelicans team. Ball is a pass-first point guard with high intelligence and defensive acumen. Ingram is someone who coach Alvin Gentry can trust to carry the bulk of the scoring. As for Williamson, he is a hugely talented player for whom the sky is the limit.
The Raptors were on a six-game winning streak against the Pelicans going into last season. However, the Pelicans snapped that with a 126-110 win early on. In their last clash, the Raptors claimed a 127-104 victory in March.
Toronto Raptors vs New Orleans Pelicans Betting Tips
Despite losing a key member like Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors will be the favorites to pick up the win against New Orleans. The Pelicans have young players who will need time to gel, and it can be a rocky start. The total points should be Under 226.5 in the game.