The Raptors take on the Timberwolves tonight in the fourth game of the preseason, fresh off a 100-91 win over the Knicks in Toronto last night. While the outcome of tonight's game doesn't really matter, there's still a lot to straighten out before the regular season tips off on Oct. 30 against the Celtics.
First and foremost, can DeMar DeRozan keep up the strong pace he's set through the first three games? While he still hasn't shown off a 3-point shot (0-5 so far), DeRozan has been attacking the rim and showing off an improved low post game that features some Kobe-esque pump fakes and up-and-unders. He's been getting to the line (five times per game in only 26 minutes), and is shooting 56% so far this preseason. DeRozan is entering the first year of a four-year, $38 million deal that many have questioned. If he keeps playing like this, he'll silence many of those critics.
There are lots of questions surrounding the bench, but perhaps none is as intriguing as the battle for backup point guard. Neither Dwight Buycks or D.J. Augustin have lit the world on fire so far and the role of Kyle Lowry's understudy is still waiting to be filled. Augustin had an awful year last season but has a better pedigree than the unproven Buycks. Regardless of who wins the battle, Raptors fans should pray for good health for Lowry, because Jose Calderon isn't walking through that door anytime soon.
Finally, it will be interesting to see if Dwane Casey gives some minutes to Quincy Acy, who was outstanding in limited action against the Knicks (nine points in six minutes). Acy is in danger of falling out of the rotation as the energy/toughness quotient is currently being supplied by Tyler Hansbrough.
After tonight's game the preseason will be half over. Real basketball is close!