the Toronto Raptors shock the rest of the NBA this season?
The Toronto Raptors
are one of the NBA's newest franchises after they were formed just 20
years ago. Since then, they have slowly worked their way up the Eastern
Conference ladder and have been a pivotal member of the playoffs in
recent years, winning the Atlantic Division in each of the last two
As of December 8th, Toronto are sixth in the Eastern Conference but
once again have a grip of the division and hold a slender lead over
nearest challengers Boston Celtics. There are still plenty of matches
left in the regular season but, on current form, Toronto will be
difficult to beat and here's why.
So far, Toronto have shown enough quality to suggest that they could
indeed challenge for a place in the NBA Finals this season.
Fortunately, they are in the opposite conference to both Golden State
Warriors, who beat Toronto in a close encounter, and San
Antonio Spurs, who are both arguably the top two sides in the league.
If the Raptors reach the playoffs, they may be forced to beat LeBron
James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, however, that is certainly possible.
While the Cavs have an excellent home record, they are inconsistent on
the road and could be defeated.
Despite ranking as the best team in the Atlantic
Division, the bookmakers at the time this article was produced are offering
lucrative odds of 40/1 on Toronto to win the NBA title this
Traditionally, the Atlantic Division has been fairly strong but none of
the franchises have managed to make a major impact on the league in
recent years. In fact, two of the worst teams in the NBA - the Brooklyn
Nets and Philadelphia 76ers - ply their trade in the division, which
may be a reason as to why Toronto's regular season record may be
slightly skewed in comparison to their playoff form in recent years.
It would take a brave man to back against the likes
of Golden State and San Antonio but the Raptors are one of the dark
horses for success and it would be foolish to overlook Dwane Casey's
Realistically, Kyle Lowry will be crucial to Toronto's chances -
especially after they lost DeMarre Carroll for an indefinite spell.
The point-guard, who was included in the NBA All-Star Team in 2015, has
been phenomenal in the early stages of the season and the Raptors will
be looking towards him for inspiration when the going gets tough later
on in the campaign.
Lowry is averaging 22.2 points per game, which is an incredible
achievement. To put that into perspective, LeBron James is averaging
26.2 points per contest. While it would be foolish to compare the two
players, Lowry's impact and influence on Toronto's results is clear for
all to see.
So, can they go all the way and win the coveted NBA Championship? While
the odds are stacked against them, there aren't many teams who possess
the same spirit and intensity as Toronto.
If Lowry avoids a serious injury, the Raptors will stand a great chance
of defying the odds and winning their first title this season. However,
they must focus primarily on winning the Atlantic Division for the
third year in a row - that must be their main objective. From there,