For 2020-21 Raptors, tanking ain’t easy. Here’s why: Murphy

Title: For 2020-21 Raptors, tanking ain’t easy. Here’s why: Murphy
Date: May 10, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the criticism that the Raptors didn’t tank hard enough and why it’s misguided.

A few weeks back, I deliberately chose the word “purgatory” for where the Raptors were this season. I stand by it.

It was interpreted by some as a suggestion the franchise as a whole is directionless. That wasn’t the intent. As I explained back in mid-April, the purgatory the Raptors found themselves in was a standings purgatory for the 2020-21 season. The play-in, while potentially fun, isn’t all that attractive for an organization with their track record, and the odds were a bit long, anyway. A slide down the standings into a higher lottery spot would be difficult, too, as the Raptors had been decent for too long and, to be quite honest, were too good to bottom out entirely, anyway.

In “The Screwtape Letters,” “The Great Divorce,” and even “The Chronicles of Narnia,” author C.S. Lewis plays with the idea of purgatory, both as a period of enduring pain and as a period of cleansing. It’s easy to see the parallels to the Raptors situation; they are playing out the string from a season where almost everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, and they’re hoping this period can cleanse the season and lead to a better start to 2021-22. DeAndre’ Bembry and all the sage in Tampa can’t smudge the team’s energy like a high lottery pick can.

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