Retrospect: could anyone have predicted the Raptors’ fall from grace?
The Raptors typically make it into the NBA playoffs, and retrospective looks at the team’s performance usually are not needed for a number of weeks. Unfortunately, this year the Raptors experienced a completely unexpected decline as they had the toughest season of any NBA team in the league.
Unlike other teams, the Raptors had to play their entire season in the middle of the global health crisis that gripped much of the world over the course of the last year. This led to the Raptors’ record for the season being significantly lower than what you would have typically seen during the Masai Ujiri years.
All we can do now is look back, put the pieces together and try to understand what happened so that it doesn’t happen again next year.
A strange group of starting players
Looking back, it is notable that the top four players in the team only played together for 23 of the 72 games they played. OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet are the Raptors’ four core players, and typically, the core players of a team would play many more than 23 of 72 games.
On top of that, the Raptors were only 6 – 17 when all of the top four players were dressed. This is a pretty shocking stat, especially as those four players are returning starters from the same team that went 53 – 19. The four core players also were 23 – 9 in the 32 games that the four all played together last year.
What can be assumed from this? Perhaps it means that the rest of the roster around those four players this year was inherently flawed or unable to play well together. When you really think about it, players such as Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka probably could not have made so substantial a difference in the game play that the numbers would have been significantly better.
Seasons of change
The global events of the last year had an undeniably tough impact on the team and their season. Aside from those events, however, the fact that Gasol and Ibaka left the team is significant. Re-signing those two players was a major priority, but clearly it just did not happen this year.
Instead, the Raptors were left with Aron Baynes and Alex Len, and at the end of the day, no one could have predicted just how poor Baynes’ playing would have been. Baynes’ shooting was way off all season, he was lost during the offensive and just seemed scattered and unsure of himself while playing.
There is also an air of mystery surrounding Len’s departure from the team. No one is quite sure why Len left the team, or under what terms, but at the end of the day, no one hugely misses Len’s playing.
Looking to the future of the Raptors and sports betting
It is hard to be optimistic after the Raptors’ recent performance. However, in some ways the future of the team remains bright and it is possible for them to recapture their past glory. The Raptors are still supported wholeheartedly by the people of Toronto, and this always gives sports teams a huge boost in morale – and funding. There is also a lot of talent, both old and new, on the Raptors team and it is possible that they will learn more from this fall from grace than anyone would have predicted.
In addition to future Raptors victories, sports betting in Canada is also slowly becoming a reality. Sports betting has been a complicated process in the past. It had to take place through the national lottery and involved a complicated procedure, which ensured that payouts were fairly low and that gamblers could not place bets on any single sporting event.
Federal legislation is slowly making its way through the Canadian legislature that will make both in-person and online sports betting in Canada a reality. Rizk Casino is an example of an online casino platform that has everything a gambler wants. The casino offers an array of different online casino games, including sports betting, slots, table games and live casino games, so there really is something for everyone.
As the online casino industry continues to grow, the sports betting industry will also grow in tandem. Regardless of what the future holds for the Raptors, you can be sure that they will soon feature in countless bets made across Canada as Canadians root for their superstar team.