Entering yet another season filled with expectations (that being to make the post-season), the Toronto Raptors failed to live up to the hype once again. After a relatively busy off-season that saw the Toronto Raptors acquire some valuable assets, many were fairly optimistic about the season that was to come. Instead, many Raptors’ fans are sitting in front of their television sets, watching the NBA Playoffs for the 5th consecutive year, which fails to consist of “Canada’s Team”. As disappointing as this may be, we as Raptors’ fans can choose to have a rather negative take on the season that just occurred, or, we can choose to look upon the positives in regards to us failing to make the playoffs.
Image Source: Toronto Star
Dream Matchup: 1st round date with the Miami Heat.
If the Toronto Raptors did in fact make the playoffs, they would’ve had the benefit of taking on the Miami Heat in the first-round. While that match-up seems almost favourable for the Toronto Raptors, realistically, they would have gotten absolutely torched by the defending champions. Despite how hard we battled them throughout the regular season (even coming close to ending their historic win-streak), it’s evident that the Toronto Raptors are nowhere near the Miami Heat’s calibre. Having watched the mockery that they made of the Milwaukee Bucks in the first-round, sweeping them 4-0, it made me feel a little bit better knowing that I didn’t have to witness the Raptors suffer an equivalent onslaught.
Surrender the pick now, for the draft is not so strong:
With an off-season trade being made with the Houston Rockets, the Toronto Raptors finally found themselves a potential franchise point-guard in Kyle Lowry. With acquiring the likes of Lowry, it cost the Raptors’ back-up guard Gary Forbes, as well as a future first-round pick (which now belongs to OKC in this year’s draft). While many were satisfied with the acquisition of a well-rounded point-guard, others were also a tad bit skeptical about trading away a future first-round pick. The draft pick itself however, came with a few implications, as it only allowed the Raptors’ to forfeit it if they were to: 1) Miss the Playoffs, or 2) Fall out of the Top-3 in terms of the lottery. Since both of those things fell in place, the Toronto Raptors find themselves without a draft pick in this year’s NBA Draft. While not possessing a draft pick may seem rather discouraging to some fans, it’s quite the blessing for the Toronto Raptors, especially in regards to this year’s draft class. With a fairly less-recognizable brand of talent in this year’s class, it’s a lot more suitable for the Toronto Raptors to surrender the pick now, as opposed to the future drafts to come (which are projected to be loaded with talent).
Use this as a learning curve, and come back better, stronger:
Rather than making promises (like Jamaal Magloire did on the last day of the regular season in 2012, promising to make the playoffs), or making comments regarding their season, the Toronto Raptors need to strictly focus on coming back better, and stronger heading into next season. The talent level on this team is evident, as well as the core of young stars this team possesses as well. However, the product on this team has yet to transpire into any immediate success. Instead of assuming, or promising playoff basketball towards the city of Toronto, the Raptors need to work for it, and let their on-court production do the talking. As confident as a group as they may be, the Raptors need to take this season as a learning curve, instead of taking it for granted. They ended of the season on a great note (winning 5 straight games), and need to make sure they start of next season with the same fire that they ended it on.