Top 5 Raptors to watch during the next few weeks

Jonas Valanciunas is expected to start at centre for the Raptors this season. (REUTERS)

Jonas Valanciunas is expected to start at centre for the Raptors this season. (REUTERS)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:13 PM ET

The NBA pre-season is a month-long slog of getting a team prepared for a six-month-long slog of games that actually count. Results only matter so far as they provide confidence. But this Raptors team went 6-1 in the pre-season a year ago and all that translated to was a 4-19 start when the games counted.

So in truth it’s far more about getting prepared to play than it is actually playing.

The seven remaining games will be used to determine which pieces mesh best with other pieces — and from that head coach Dwane Casey and his staff will determine a rotation of players.

Barring something unforeseen, the starting five appears set with Jonas Valanciunas, Amir Johnson, Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry filling those spots.

How the second unit shapes up is anyone’s guess right now.

But even the expected starters have made changes to their respective games and merit watching.

Here’s our top five players you should watch over the next f


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