Thinking back to the last Toronto Raptors home game at Scotiabank Arena feels like a lifetime ago.
They haven’t played in front of a home crowd since February 28, 2020, more than a full NBA season.
And believe it or not, just four Raptors players: Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Chris Boucher have actually played for the Raptors in Toronto before.
“I think for me, personally, I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed living here until I came back,” said Fred VanVleet during yesterday’s media day. “I knew I missed the city, but you don’t really know why until you come back because it’s just a beautiful place to be.”
Names like Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Norman Powell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Patrick McCaw, and Matt Thomas have all departed from the roster after featuring for the team in the 2019-20 season.
This year’s roster is set to feature a number of new faces: top pick Scottie Barnes, Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa acquired from Miami, and free agents Svi Mykhailiuk and Sam Dekker. Meanwhile, players like Gary Trent Jr., Khem Birch, Yuta Watanabe, and Malachi Flynn played for the Raptors last season, but the team spent the entirety of its home schedule playing in Tampa, Florida.
“That’s the first time I’ve walked into my office downstairs since, I don’t know, February of 2020 or whatever,” said head coach Nick Nurse about returning to Scotiabank Arena. “Everything was still there. I forgot all the stuff I had but it was all still there.”
The Raptors kick off their home schedule this year on October 20 against the Washington Wizards.