The Toronto Raptors take on the Philadelphia 76ers looking for their first win of the 2020-21 NBA Season. The 2018-19 champions, Toronto Raptors have lost their matches against the New Orleans Pelicans and the San Antonio Spurs.
Philadelphia 76ers, on the other hand, convincingly won their first two games before suffering a loss at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers, something they would be hoping is an exception than the norm.
Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers: A starting five filled with young players
The Toronto Raptors are sticking to a similar plan like that of last year. Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka's loss continues to weigh heavily on the team, but Aron Baynes is playing his part from what we've seen until now.
Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, and Fred Vanvleet continue to dominate in their roles with the team, and OG Annunoby, who is their new starter at the small forward position, has also done very well. The Toronto Raptors need to get back on track defensively; however, as for the second-best defensive team last year, they are a shadow of their former self from what we've seen so far.
The Philadelphia 76ers also saw some fundamental changes this offseason after a disappointing 4-0 sweep by the Celtics last postseason.
Starting with new General Manager Daryl Morey and Head Coach Doc Rivers, they have gone ahead, creating a roster around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid with three and D players. Seth Curry, Danny Green, and Dwight Howard all arrived last offseason, hoping to lift some of the scoring burden from 76ers star duo.
Now let's look at the combined starting five featuring players from Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Point Guard - Ben Simmons
Two-time All-star Ben Simmons is one of the brightest young prospects in the league right now. He has averaged nearly 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists last season and has been looking just as strong in what we've seen of him this year so far.
Most people, experts and fans alike, believe Simmons is one jump shot away from becoming a superstar, but coach Doc Rivers thinks differently.
Simmons is an outstanding player even without the mid range, mainly due to his athleticism and high frame of 6'10", which allows him to see over nearly every point guard in the league. An elite defender too, Simmons led the league in steals last year. Against Toronto Raptors, except the 24-year-old to play a very vital role.
Shooting Guard - Fred VanVleet
Fred VanVleet made history this offseason, signing the largest contract for an undrafted player in NBA history with the Toronto Raptors. From playing just 8 minutes, averaging under 3 points a game for his first season in 2016, VanVleet averaged nearly 18 points per game in his 2019-2020 campaign.
An essential characteristic of VanVleet is his elite defense, something no one would expect from a 6 feet tall guard. However, the statistics speak for themselves, and last year, Fred VanVleet stood fourth in the NBA in steals per game.