Toronto Raptors

2018 NBA Preseason Preview: Toronto Raptors vs. Portland Trail Blazers

On Saturday, Sept. 29, the Toronto Raptors begin their 2018 preseason schedule with a matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers.

This is the first game of the NBA Canada Series, taking place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time and will be televised on TSN2.

MORE: What is the NBA Canada Series?

This is the first opportunity for NBA fans to catch Kawhi Leonard in a Raptors jersey, making this one of the most highly anticipated games of the preseason.

What to watch for: Toronto Raptors

While the major headline is seeing Kawhi's first performance for Toronto, there is plenty of other things to keep an eye on if you're a Raptors fan.

After winning a franchise record 59 games a season ago, Toronto fired head coach Dwane Casey this summer. This will be Nick Nurse's first game as head coach, so you'll get a sample of the offensive and defensive schemes he has in store for this year.

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The Raptors are projected to win 55 games and finish second in the East under Nurse.

The preseason is also a great chance to watch players battle for final roster spots.

The Raptors currently have two open roster spots looking to be filled by Chris Boucher, Kyle Collinsworth, Deng Adel, Kay Felder or Eric Moreland. These five players should all get a fair amount of playing time throughout the preseason, and tonight's contest will be your first chance to see what they are capable of.

Lastly, you'll get to see some of the Raptors' other new additions going into the 2018-19 season. Veterans like Danny Green and Greg Monroe will be suiting up for the first time, along with former G League MVP Lorenzo Brown and former first-round pick Malachi Richardson.

MORE: Get to know Kyle Collinsworth, Deng Adel and Lorenzo Brown | 2018-19 season preview: Portland Trail Blazers

What to watch for: Portland Trail Blazers

After winning 49 games during the regular season, the Trail Blazers finished 2017-18 with the third-best record in the Western Conference. This season, they're projected to finish with 41.5 wins, which would place them 10th best in the West.

Portland is driven by All-Star guard Damian Lillard, who thrives off of proving people wrong. He wasn't voted an All-Star in 2017 and he turned that into an All-NBA First Team campaign in 2018.

Other than watching Lillard and CJ McCollum, you'll get to see a lot of Portland's young players on display for the first time since they won the Vegas Summer League a few months back. They're hoping to see improvements from Jake Laymen, Caleb Swanigan, Zach Collins and Wade Baldwin in the 2018-19 season.

As for new additions, keep an eye on Seth Curry, whom the Blazers brought in this offseason to add some firepower to their bench. They also brought in sharpshooter Nik Stauskas, who will be making his Blazers debut in this contest as well.

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