Sure, the Toronto Raptors are having the best season in their franchise’s history, and there’s an argument to be made that they could take down the best teams in the Eastern Conference and advance to their first ever NBA Finals appearance. But it’s Toronto.
The Raptors are prominent under-achievers, they have been since they entered the league back in 1995. They’ve had some great players, some great teams, but the organization simply hasn’t been able to win when it matters. It’s happened time and time again, and it’s happened a lot in recent years, with the Raptors simply unable to break through the ceiling despite three Atlantic Division titles in the past four years. It almost feels like you could put the Golden State Warriors in Toronto Raptors uniforms, and they would find a way to bow out in the second round. It’s simply not in their franchise to be a solid team in the post-season.
I actually like the Raptors, they came to my hometown of Victoria, BC for training camp this summer and I got the chance to meet DeRozan, Lowry, the whole gang pretty much. I follow the Portland Trail Blazers out in the West, but I always keep tabs on the Raptors just because they’re “Canada’s team” and they’re always on the local sports stations. I remember the Andrea Bargnani days, the Jose Calderon era, Chris Bosh backpacking the team for a handful of years, and I truly want the Raptors to go all the way this year. It’s just not going to happen. Not with the Boston Celtics and Kyrie Irving standing in their way, and past that, they’d still have to get by LeBron, which they never have, and never will be able to do. I don’t care how bad the Cavs are playing right now, come playoff time, LeBron becomes a different level of dominant, and he could single-handedly take down any team in the NBA, except for Golden State.
And that’s really the bottom line. Even if the Raptors do have a miraculous run and find their way out of the Eastern Conference for the first time in franchise history, there’s no way, and I mean NO WAY this team beats the Golden State Warriors in a best-of-seven series. Unless Curry and Durant go down at the same time, the Warriors are winning the championship this year. You could put the Houston Rockets and the Boston Celtics all on one combined team, they’re not beating the Warriors. The Warriors are better than the dynasty Bulls or Celtics, the only team I could see standing somewhat of a chance against them is the early 2000’s Lakers because of the inside presence of Shaquille O’Neal, but it would still be close. The NBA Finals trophy simply isn’t up for grabs this year. Not without a miracle anyways.
While the Raptors currently lead the Eastern Conference down the home stretch and are on pace for a 60-win season, it’s best not to get hopes too high for Toronto, even though the hype up here in Canada will be through the roof if they do indeed get past the Celtics and the Cavaliers. While their bench has been terrific this year, Lowry and DeRozan aren’t enough to get past the likes of LeBron and Kyrie’s Celtics.
The playoffs leading up to the finals will be a show, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t see Toronto winning it all.