Last year, fans of the Toronto Raptors had reasons to cheer. Under the successful guidance of coach Dwane Casey, the Raptors soared to new heights that fans never dreamed possible.
The team scored often, won 56 games, and even beat the Cleveland Cavaliers twice in the Eastern Conference Finals. Although the Raptors didn’t reach the top, their adrenaline and drive seemed to foretell greater things for the upcoming season.
Before January, such forecasts seemed to be accurate. The Raptors, especially throughout December, seemed to be invincible: DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry were scoring with their usual effectiveness; Patrick Patterson and DeMarre Carroll’s performances were off the charts; and even rookies such as Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poetltl’s were playing better than anyone expected.
Alas, that was December. January came, and brought bad luck with it. After a game with the Golden State Warriors (a game which, at many points, the Raptors could have actually won), the morale of the team continued to decline.
Fatigue seemed to set in, and although some games were won, the team never regained last year’s momentum. They began to lose games by either an enormous amount of points, or by just a single point.
Although they still may make it to the playoffs, they certainly won’t win with their current work ethic. I wouldn’t even bet a single piece of popcorn on the Raptors winning the playoffs.
As with all things human-made, there are areas that can be improved if given the proper attention. These improvements could allow the Raptors to become a true championship team.
First and foremost, the Raptors don’t need to change their coach. Casey is a phenomenal coach, as the team’s performance last season attests. To get rid of such an asset at this moment would be the opposite of helpful.
There are some players which should be pushed harder. A good shooter such as Jonas Valančiūnas needs to shoot more and not just be utilized as a wall for DeRozan or Lowry to shoot in front of. A good shooter such as Lucas Nogueira needs to shoot more two pointers. Do you get my rhythm?
Unless the Raptors get the help which they so dearly need, as DeRozan himself stated, then it’s time to stop spending money on Toronto Raptor merchandise. Instead, lose your voice trying to imitate Jack Armstrong’s voice yelling, “Get that garbage outta here!”