Title: The Toronto Raptors Are Still Fueled By Your Doubts
Date: October 17, 2017
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: For my latest at Vice, I wrote about the Toronto Raptors once again feeling slept on entering the 2017-18 season, which is perfect for them.
The Toronto Raptors finding slights from the media, from simulations, or from the public at large has become an annual tradition of sorts. Leading the charge is DeMar DeRozan, forever underrated by the SI or ESPN or Name Your Outlet Top 100, forever indignant, and who constantly uses a perceived lack of respect as further motivation to return, year after year, even better than the theoretical ceiling he reached the year prior.
This is par for the course for the Raptors, a franchise that until recently had little familiarity with success or upward momentum. It was a fledgling organization that Damon Stoudamire bolted quickly, that only milked one playoff series victory from the early career peak of their greatest talent, Vince Carter, that spent two decades mired in mediocrity, and couldn’t even bottom out properly when the time came for it. That part of the franchise DNA and identity have been a large part of the argument for the Raptors remaining good even without a true championship window and continuing to build important organizational equity. Winning is no longer a best-case here, it’s an edict.
“Our expectation is to win,” team president Masai Ujiri said in late September. “Every season we go into. I think as a basketball team and being competitive, our expectation is to win. I think the guys know that, the coaches know that, we as an organization, I think we all know that.”