The 2017-18 Raptors are finally — finally — ready to take the court. It’s October 19th, we’re three days into the NBA season, and basketball is back in Toronto. Are you fired up? Folks, I am fired up. (And it’s not because of the coffee I just drank. I mean, not entirely.)
This Raptors season promises to be a tad familiar, with most of the team’s core — namely DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and Jonas Valanciunas — returning. Toronto added veteran sharpshooter C.J. Miles, they put their faith in Norman Powell, and then they’re looking to a bunch of young guys to do the rest. Will it all work? I say yes, but not everyone is as optimistic, and that’s fair too.
If you read the Ringer today, you probably saw Adam Nayman’s take on the existence of the Raptors. He’s not wrong in his assessment — we do remain in a kind of purgatory (like, uh, most every other NBA team). My counterpoint here is one I’ve been making all summer to anyone and everyone who would listen.
Even with all the baggage, even with Vince Carter’s missed shot in 2001, and the terrible years that came after, and the high profile free agent departures (and awful trades), and Masai’s scuttled rebuild plan, and the eventual ups and downs of the past few years: the Raptors are trending in the right direction. It’s true this team likely taps out at good, or maybe really good. It’s true that LeBron still exists in this conference. And it’s true that athletic monsters like Giannis loom.
But through it all, I still say being good is its own reward. The Raptors of most people’s memory are bad — poor performances on the court, disastrously run off it. They’ve had to fight their way uphill in a cultural landscape that marks them as irrelevant. And while you could argue that the Raptors still haven’t quite achieved true relevance — not in the age of Golden State and LeBron — they’re in a far better position today than they were five years ago.
And keep in mind, always: the NBA is littered with teams that were afterthoughts until, suddenly, they weren’t.
Where to Watch:
TSN4 at 7:30 pm
Raptors - Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Norman Powell, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas
Bulls - Jerian Grant, Justin Holiday, Paul Zipser, Lauri Markkanen, Robin Lopez
Raptors - Malcolm Miller?
Bulls - Nikola Mirotic (bruised face and ego), Kriss Dunn (dislocated finger), Cameron Payne (foot surgery), Zach LaVine (sore knee)
THE SEASON IS HERE SO ARE SEAN AND DAN LEHHGOOPosted by Raptors HQ on Thursday, October 19, 2017