The most highly anticipated Raptors season since Vince Carter’s prime, begins tonight at the ACC against the Atlanta Hawks. Yes the same Atlanta Hawks that released this terrible promo video featuring Rapper TI and the team’s CEO calling himself “Stevie K” (https://onblastpodcast.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/atlanta-hawks-ceo-rapper-t-i-want-you-to-come-to-the-home-opener-fo-shizzle/) and basically what I’m saying is that the scoreboard already reads #Raptors 1, #Hawks 0.
Yes your Toronto Raptors are being predicted by most to repeat as Atlantic Division champions. But while Coach Casey might want to temper expectations for his young and budding squad, here’s the reality. For the first time in a long time, a GM in Toronto actually used the off season to address his team’s glaring holes. Need more consistent scoring behind Kyle & DeMar or when TRoss gets cold? Enter Lou Williams. Need a bigger wing to “try” to slow down the likes of LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony (or Joe Johnson in the playoffs SMH?!?!) enter James Johnson. Adding even more depth on both ends of the floor is never a bad thing, especially to a team that is already built on the whole being greater than the sum of it’s parts. But now lets take a closer look, at some of those parts.
Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas are both entering their 3rd seasons and thus should be ready to take their production to another level. Greivis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson will once again lead a strong bench mob and by now, we all know what to expect from Toronto’s Mr. Hustle and Flow himself, Amir Johnson.
But that still leaves the bulk of the expectations squarely on the shoulders of arguably the best back court in the NBA. With all due respect to Dion Waiters, in the wise words of noted poet Shawn Carter “men lie, women lie, numbers don’t”. The only back court duo last season to put up averages of at least 18-4-4 reside north of the border. DeMar DeRozan will look to turn last year’s all-star game appearance into a yearly trend. While Kyle Lowry is out to prove that his new contract did little to remove the chip on his shoulder. Toronto’s pit bull PG is no doubt focused on joining his running mate during this year’s all star festivities. But if his evolution into this generation’s Chauncey Billups is to continue, the thing that will matter the most will be the team’s continued success. Something that this franchise has known very little about in their 20 year existence.
A new season, with new expectations based off of the same old principles of defence and ball movement. Add in a fan base that’s screaming to prove their place in not only their city, but their entire country…and the #WeTheNorth movement is alive and well. So if that still “makes us outsiders…WE’RE IN” Now if you can’t get hype for this season after watching this YouTube video, then I’m not sure if we can be friends.
Just my thoughts, right or wrong. Just how I’m feeling at the time.