The Toronto Raptors enter their 19th season as a franchise in the NBA having, and quite frankly haven’t had much to cheer about. The Raptors have had star players like Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Chris Bosh, and Marcus Camby all begin their careers there, but have never been able to keep them there very long. Year after year, season of disappointment has plagued this franchise.
The 2013-14 season brought forward a ray of hope for the Raptors as their young corps of Kyle Lowry, Demarr Derozan, and Terrance Ross lifted the franchise to a rare 48-34 record and a first place finish in the Atlantic Division. As a number three overall seed, the young Raptor’s gave the veteran a Brooklyn Nets a battle they wouldn’t soon forget as they fell four games to three.
Although the young Raptors didn’t advance in the playoffs, the silver lining is that they have tasted success that they surely want to duplicate.
Raptors fan are abuzz, about the continued success of the team, but a few questions remain to be unanswered when it comes to returning to the playoffs in 2015.
- How will this team handle prosperity? Coming off a playoff appearance and a division title, Toronto now has expectations. A veteran point guard in Kyle Lowry and a coach in Dwane Casey who really did a great job after a 6-12 start will be key as the Raptors continue to get better.
- DeMar Derozan: What does he do for an encore? He was sensational last season averaging 22 points per game. His season was parlayed into gaining a spot on Team USA for the FIBA World Cup, and that experience should give him more confidence this season.
- Jonas Valanciunas: could this be his breakout season? He had a solid season last year, but I feel like he needs to take it to the next level. Besides DeRozan and to a smaller extent Kyle Lowry, Valanciunas is probably their best offensive player. He has reportedly worked with Hakeem Olajuwon this offseason, and he played well at the FIBA World Cup averaging 14 points and eight rebounds per game