The NBA’s trade season is officially over, and with that comes a renewed sense of optimism surrounding the Toronto Raptors. After a hot start to the season, a brutal stretch beginning in January has the team closer to the middle of the pack than the front in the Eastern Conference playoff race. During this time, it had become increasingly clear from the team’s play that something had gone stale – a concerning turn of events for a group that not long ago sat within striking distance of the Cleveland Cavaliers. For a franchise that has enjoyed its greatest prolonged stretch of success in recent years, the sense of concern among fans and players alike was palpable heading into All-Star Weekend.
With these struggles in mind, Masai Ujiri and his Blackberry Passport tapped into the trade market and came away with some goodies. With last week’s trade for Serge Ibaka, and this afternoon’s buzzer-beating addition of P.J. Tucker, the Raptors front office came away with an enviable haul at a reasonable cost. Let’s take a look at the changes, and how they’ll theoretically affect the remainder of the season.
First things first: DeMar DeRozan is a good professional basketball player. A very good professional basketball player, even, as evidenced by his 23.5 points per game during the regular season, to go along with two NBA All-Star Game appearances. He is one of the faces of the Toronto Raptors franchise, the team’s all-time leading playoff scorer, and has been a part of the most successful regular seasons in franchise history.
Put that all together, and you have a legitimate NBA player. Furthermore, DeRozan has embraced both the city of Toronto, and the work it takes to improve as a basketball player at the professional level, getting better in each of his 7 seasons in the league. An athlete with that kind of drive and that kind of love for his adopted city is the stuff Toronto sports legends are made of.
So why is DeMar DeRozan such a source of grief for Raptors fans? Continue reading
The emergence of the Toronto Raptors as an NBA power has created a new generation of basketball fans throughout the country. And the noticable improvements to the team’s culture should keep the fan base growing for the near future.
With a 40-19 record the Toronto Raptors have again been able to find success during the 2015-2016 season. The team currently holds the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference, with a comfortable 4.5 game lead over the 3rd place Boston Celtics. They are certainly the biggest threat to overthrow the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference title. And while it was assumed that the team would perform well this season, they’ve managed to exceed nearly everyone’s expectations. Continue reading