Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse to experiment with lineups throughout the 2018-19 season

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Jonas Valanciunas, Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam (NBA Getty Images)

Ahead of Wednesday's meeting with the Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse hinted to members of the media that his preseason lineup experiments will continue throughout the course of the regular season.

It's safe to assume All-Stars Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard have solidified starting spots, while the other three spots in the lineup are more fluid, evidenced by Jonas Valanciunas' role as a reserve in Games 1 and 3 of the preseason.

"I don't think I'm done looking at combinations and I don't think there's going to be much of a set thing - at the start, especially." Nurse said earlier in the week. "There will be some different starting lineups, which means there will be some different second units."

Toronto's second unit, which tied with the Spurs as the fourth-highest scoring bench in the league in 2017-18, played an integral role in the team earning the East's No. 1 seed last season. With more fluid lineups, the second unit should remain atop the league scoring-wise, as it will likely feature different combinations of starting-calibre players like Valanciunas throughout the year.

The Raptors' new head coach continued, emphasizing that the team is just as deep as last year, if not deeper: "We have nine guys that were in the rotation last year back, maybe 10, and we added a couple of guys and we know those guys are pretty good players."

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While much of the rotation remains up in the air, Nurse is certain that the team's backcourt will be made up of different combinations of Kyle Lowry, CJ Miles, Fred VanVleet, Delon Wright and Danny Green. The addition of Green is a 3-point shooting boost to a second unit that features VanVleet and Miles.

Nurse's curiosity is more related to his frontcourt rotation, which becomes even more stout with OG Anunoby making his preseason debut against the Nets: "A big part of Wednesday will be getting [OG] in the mix and seeing it … That's where we're at with 3s and 4s and whose playing those 3-4-5 spots are really what we're rotating around."

He continued, saying "if Kawhi and OG are on the floor together, hopefully they're going to be interchangeable at the 3-4, it shouldn't really matter much."

In addition to Anunoby and Leonard, Nurse says that Pascal Siakam, who has made great improvements over the offseason, is close to being that type of player as well. Siakam will likely be a fixture in the second unit, bringing versatility on both ends of the floor.

While rotations and lineups will be a source of intrigue throughout the early stages of the regular season, expect the Raptors to key in on a more definitive rotation for the year's stretch run.

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