With 16 players and 15 spots, somebody will be the odd man out as the Toronto Raptors gather for camp in Halifax.
At the same time, those looking for heavy minutes will be battling to earn starting positions on what looks to be an improved roster for the 2012-13 season.
Here’s a look at the squad.
Quincy Acy, Mesquite, Texas, F, 6-7, 225, Rookie
Last season at Baylor (NCAA): 12.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.0 assists
Acy is a vocal leader, former sixth man extraordinaire in college, an explosive athletic presence, and should become a fan-favourite in Toronto. He is an aggressive player and a hard worker, but he remains undersized for playing the post position in the NBA.
Alan Anderson, Minneapolis, Minnesota, G, 6-6, 220, Three years in NBA
Last season with Toronto: 9.6 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists
After being drafted by Charlotte in 2005, he bounced around leagues in Europe and China before returning to the NBA with the Raptors last year.
An experienced guard able to play multiple positions in the backcourt with good range on his shot, Anderson provides depth and scoring off the bench.
Andrea Bargnani, Rome, Italy, F, 7-0, 256, Six years in NBA
Last season with Toronto: 19.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists
Since becoming the first European to be drafted first overall in the NBA, Bargnani has slowly improved every year in Toronto and was looking even better defensively last season until a calf injury sidelined him for over half the campaign.
He won’t grab rebounds or be an intimidating presence in the paint because he’s too talented not to exploit opposing forwards with his perimeter skills.
Jose Calderon, Villanueva de la Serena, Spain, PG, 6-3, 211, Seven years in NBA
Last season with Toronto: 10.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 8.8 assists
The longest-serving Raptor, Calderon has shared the Toronto backcourt for the majority of his career and will now play alongside Kyle Lowry.
Outwardly, Calderon says he’s happy (he’s “always happy”), but you could forgive him if he’s feeling a little like Rodney Dangerfield on the inside.
He’s a pass-first point guard and has a long history with the core of this team, but he doesn’t bring much defense or upside at this point of his career.
Ed Davis, Washington, D.C., F, 6-10, 232, Two years in NBA
Last season with Toronto: 6.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 0.9 assists
Davis hasn’t developed quite as quickly as expected, but he remains an exciting project. He’s a long, agile, athletic young post player with good touch around the rim and decent footwork.
The North Carolina product will improve if he adds a little bulk to his frame and becomes more assertive on offence.
DeMar DeRozan, Compton, California, G, 6-7, 216, Three years in NBA
Last season with Toronto: 16.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists
The high-flyer attempted to expand his game last season and take more of a focal role on offense and improved noticeably. With a deeper bench, especially on the wings, DeRozan will have to prove he’s a consistent number-one option.
Landry Fields, Long Beach, California, G, 6-7, 215, Two years in NBA
Last season with New York: 8.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists
Before Carmelo arrived in New York, Fields was one of the biggest steals in the 2010 draft. He struggled in the isolation offense the Knicks adopted and regressed slightly, but may be entering a better situation in Toronto.
A good shooter, great rebounder from the guard position, and a decent defender.
Aaron Gray, Tarzana, California, C, 7-0, 270, Five years in NBA
Last season with Toronto: 3.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 0.6 assists
A big body to clog the lane while Bargnani roams, Gray is a legitimate seven-footer with average post moves and defence. He won’t be a focal point on offense, but he’s dependable.
Amir Johnson, Los Angeles, California, PF, 6-9, 210, Seven years in NBA
Last season with Toronto: 7.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists
Johnson played through nagging minor injuries last season and fell short of expectations. He’s a good defender, but may not have the same potential that made him the last player to ever jump straight from high school to the NBA.
Linas Kleiza, Kaunas, Lithuania, F, 6-8, 234,,Six years in NBA
Last season with Toronto: 9.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 0.9 assists
A talented scorer with good size, Kleiza usually comes off the bench as a shooter and scorer to give some punch to the second unit. This season he’ll help fellow countryman Jonas Valanciunas adapt to the style of play in the NBA.
Kyle Lowry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, PG, 6-0, 205, Six years in NBA
Last season with Houston: 14.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.6 assists
Lowry was in all-star discussions last season when he showed all-around improvement and became a dynamic option on offense, but missed the end of the season with a bacterial infection that put him in the hospital.
He sometimes played alongside Goran Dragic in Houston, and should be able to transition to teaming with Calderon.
John Lucas III, Washington, District of Columbia, PG, 5-11, 165, Four years in NBA
Last season with Chicago: 7.5 points, 1.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists
Undersized even for the point position, Lucas impressed last season with additional minutes after Derrick Rose was injured. He’ll provide insurance as a backup behind Lowry and Calderon.
Jamaal Magloire, Toronto, Canada, 6-11, 259, 12 years in NBA
Last season with Toronto: 1.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.2 assists
Magloire is an ambassador for the team and another presence in the lane, but the veteran played sparingly last season. He may move into a different role with the team once training camp finishes.
Dominic McGuire, San Diego, California, F, 6-9, 235, Five years in NBA
Last season with Golden State: 3.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists
An athletic transition player and better-than-average defender, McGuire will play a similar role to that of James Johnson in the 2012 campaign for the Raptors.
Terrence Ross, Portland, Oregon, G/F, 6-6, 195, Rookie
Last season with Washington (NCAA): 16.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists
Ross has good range and form on his jumpshot, can defend multiple positions on the perimeter, he’s an athletic dunker with length and good ball handling. There’s a lot of potential here and he will learn quickly battling DeRozan every day in practice.
Jonas Valanciunas, Utena, Lithuania, C, 6-11, 231, Rookie
Last season with Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania): 11.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists
Finally arriving in the NBA after going fifth overall in the 2011 draft, the Lithuanian project is still just 20 years old.
He’ll need to bulk up and acclimatize himself to the NBA game but he’s been playing against professionals since he was 16 in Lithuanian and European leagues, so he could transition faster than expected.