The Toronto Raptors are coming off another impressive regular season which ended in disappointment during the playoffs. With the 2015-2016 quickly approaching the Raptors would hope to get things going with a bang. The Raptors made some major defensive upgrades through free agency and the draft by signing DeMarre Carroll, Cory Joseph, Luis Scola, and Bismack Biyombo along with rookies Delon Wright and Norman Powell. Accompany that with the new look for the organization, it’s easy to see why there’s a lot of excitement between the fans and the franchise.
Let’s take a look at the 2015-2016 schedule for the Toronto Raptors.
Schedule at a glance:
- October/November: 17 games | December: 15 games | January: 14 games | February: 12 games | March: 16 games | April: 8 games
- 17 back-to-backs
- Longest home-stand – 7 games (twice)
- Longest road trip – 6 games
- Opening night vs. Indiana Pacers
- Game #82 vs. Brooklyn Nets
October 28th – Opening night against the Indiana Pacers – who should be a much more talented team with their acquisition of Monta Ellis, and the return of their star, Paul George.
Through the Raptors’ first 17 games they will be on the road for 11 of them. The first month will be an entirely different situation, in comparison to the Raptors’ start to last season. Some notable road bouts for the Raptors will be against the likes of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers,and the Washington Wizards – who eliminated the Raptors in a first-round sweep.
The Raps will be tested right away, playing teams who are more than expected to just make the playoffs. Being tested early on will show just how ready they are in terms of their preparation and matching up against superior talent. In this case there’s a different feeling around the organization and the roster. With uncertainty facing the team to start this season it’s expected the Raptors not only put up a fight, but be one of the marquee teams in the league, especially in the improved Eastern conference.
December 30th – the Washington Wizards will come into the Air Canada Centre, which is the first time they’ll be visiting the Raptors on the road since the playoffs; expect an incredibly hostile crowd even with the absence of super-villain Paul Pierce.
January 14th – the Raptors will find themselves in London, England again. This time around, they’ll be playing the Orlando Magic; not a marquee match-up, but expect a battle. The 2011 back-to-back in London in against the Nets was a series of competitive games including a 137-136 triple-overtime thriller where the Raptors lost.
January 22nd and the 28th, the Raptors will be playing on American National Television (not counting NBA TV) against the Miami Heat on ESPN, and the New York Knicks on TNT. These are the only two games the Raptors will have televised on either of the two networks. Signalling a significant drop-off from last year where they were on a combined four times on the two networks.
The Raptors will be away for most of February with All-Star 2016 being hosted by the city of Toronto.
To start March, the NBA gives them another 7-game home-stand, however, not against “easy” teams. Miami, the Atlanta Hawks, the Bulls, and the Houston Rockets all come into town. Being home should give the Raptors the right sleep, the right amount of preparation time, and comfort for the Raptors to give 110% throughout this home-stand. This duration of the season, will be all about playoff seeding and positioning. This home-stand will hopefully prove helpful.
The Raptors have quite an average strength schedule, nothing too ground breaking. With the roster cut out for a long grueling 82-game season, they should prove to be not only a deep roster, but a very challenging team to play against.
DeMarre Carroll adds an entirely new dynamic for the team. A defensive minded back-court of Joseph and Wright, a defensive big-man in Biyombo, a veteran like Luis Scola off the bench, along with expected improvements to our core players in DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Lowry (who got incredibly slimmer) creates a roster built for big time success in the regular season. Let’s hope that same toughness and durability can extend into the post-season.
Expect another fun, up-and-down ride from your Toronto Raptors, folks.