The Raptors look like a team ready to compete
Every year it seems like we would see the Toronto Raptors cruise through the regular season, usually winning more games than the last and even breaking franchise regular season win records. Every year people would say “This is the year, Toronto is finally for real,” but once the playoffs began it seemed like the same Raptors we were used to, struggling through the first round, but always coming out on top, but then having to play LeBron James again and again, only to lose every single time.
These losses seemed to get worse by the year. A few years ago it would always be a competitive series, only to be turned into back to back sweeps with the most recent one coming a ridiculous game-winning shot. LeBron and the Cavs have owned Toronto so badly that one announcer even called the city “Lebronto”. It can’t possibly get worse than that. But just when we thought that we would see the same outcome the next season, LeBron took his talents to Los Angeles and the Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard.
Finally, it seemed like the Raptors were willing to change. That change came with a cost, however, as the trade with the Spurs meant giving up longtime franchise cornerstone, DeMar DeRozan. Many were skeptical coming into the season. Kawhi had just come off a season-ending injury and many people were wondering not only if he was 100%, but whether or not he would be able to mesh with star point guard Kyle Lowry. Now, after only 10 games, the Toronto Raptors are 9 and 1 along with being first in the Eastern Conference and have seemed to have finally solved the puzzle. It finally looks like Toronto will be able to cross the previously untrodden plane and make it to the promised land, the NBA Finals.
Besides having arguably a top five player in the league in Kawhi Leonard, the Raps’ also have one of the league’s best benches with Serge Ibaka and Fred Vanvleet being two of the most dangerous players on any NBA bench. The amount of depth along with the star power the Raptors have is making many wonder if they can be the team to contend with Golden State. With Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry both playing at elite levels it seems like it might finally be Toronto’s year. Nonetheless, what the front office has managed to do in attempt to break the stereotype of teams of Raptor past, has been nothing short of incredible. Although it’s only November, the Toronto Raptors may have finally solved the puzzle. Now, all we have to do is wait until April.