Title: KEEPING PACE WOULD BE A HUGE STEP FORWARD FOR THE RAPTORS
Date: October 26, 2016
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: In my latest for Vice Canada, I previewed the Toronto Raptors’ upcoming season from a macro, organization-building perspective.
The Toronto Raptors have never made the playoffs in four consecutive seasons. This piece of arbitrary trivia is mostly meaningless, except for the fact that it’s very unlikely to remain true when April rolls around. Not only are the Raptors considered something close to a lock for a playoff position in the Eastern Conference, they’re essentially a consensus pick to earn a top-four seed and home-court advantage once again.
Expectations are high, there’s a collective trust in the quality of the team, and even an injury to Jared Sullinger seems to only be threatening Toronto’s perch as the East’s second-biggest threat. For the first time ever, the Raptors are established, entrenched, and accepted as one of the league’s better teams.
For a franchise with a moribund 21-year history that until last spring didn’t include a single victory in a seven-game playoff series, this is somewhat remarkable, and completely unfamiliar. For over two decades, the Raptors have been known for a lot of things—a purple uniform and pop-culture splash of a team name initially, Vince Carter’s rise, Vince Carter’s departure, Bryan Colangelo’s Euro-import binge and roster carousel, Ben Uzoh’s garbage-time dominance—but “winning” has never been high on the list. Until recently, the Raptors were more infamous than famous.