DeMar DeRozan broke various individual and team records en route having the best season of his career to date and the Raptors were involved in midseason trades for the first time since 2013. DeRozan averaged 22.3 points. It's not expected to limit their workloads on Saturday for Game 1 of the first-round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Over the last 10 games, Valanciunas has averaged 12.7 points and 9.4 rebounds while shooting almost 63 per cent from the field.
Gone was the brutish Bismack Biyombo, but the duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan was always going to be enough for this Raptors return to run last season back.
The Toronto Raptors won 50 games for the second straight season. DeRozan sat out the season finale at Cleveland. The Bucks own a 47-35 mark against the Raptors all-time in the regular season.
But Milwaukee turned things around quickly, winning four of its next five games.
The X-factor in the series as Casey calls him, will be Khris Middleton, the Bucks shooting guard who can stretch defences out to the three-point line and make life in the paint much less congested for Antetokounmpo, who can do plenty of damage once there.
"I haven't thought anything about that", Antetokounmpo said. Players who started the season playing well, now missed shots and that also resulted in a defensive lapse due to lack of focus.
But as his second trip to the playoffs looms, he boasts a freakish level of skill as well, as Raptors coach Dwane Casey knows all too well.
Serge Ibaka has been a revelation on both ends of the court since Toronto acquired him midway through the season, but it's the play of Jonas Valanciunas that will make or break the team's title hopes.
"People don't expect us to beat the Raptors", Brogdon said. Honestly, LeBron should get the award because even though the Cavs have Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, they would be nowhere near the same team without King James. But the Raptors are a playoff-tested team after taking the eventual-champion Cavaliers to a sixth game in the conference finals a year ago. The Bucks find scoring baskets a lot more hard than the Raptors, but Khris Middleton, Greg Monroe and likely rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon are the ones who'll have to help out Antetokounmpo carve out his playoff legacy with the Bucks. They also went out and got another defensive-minded player in P.J. Tucker has kept the defense together since coming over from Phoenix.
The Raptors' key midseason acquisition was indeed Serge Ibaka. Consequently, the team went 1-3 and they looked like a totally different team without him.
The Bucks were 22-30 following an embarrassing home loss to the woeful Los Angeles Lakers on February 10, and still licking their wounds after losing forward Jabari Parker to a season-ending ACL injury.
DeRozan attacked the rim with semi-conviction before meeting Bucks seven-foot wing Thon Maker in the restricted area during Saturday's Game 1.
Giannis finished up leading his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals per game, becoming just the fifth player in National Basketball Association history to do so. The Raptors have also played well lately, going 8-2 in their final ten games.