Welcome to Forgotten Raptors Playoffs! All throughout the 2019 NBA Playoffs, we’ll be looking back at past Raptors series — going all the way back to 2000 — and digging into the hidden, underrated, forgotten or straight-up wacky subplots and memories!
Today we look at that oh-so-painful first-round sweep in 2015.
Toronto Raptors (49-33, 4th seed) vs. Washington Wizards (46-36, 5th seed)
Washington sweeps Toronto 4-0 in the best-of-seven series.
What Everyone Remembers
What we’d all like to forget: A shaky (especially on D) Raptors team with an injured Kyle Lowry seemingly gave everything they had to get Game 1 to overtime... then put up very little resistance in OT or in the next three games as Washington and Paul Pierce stomped the Raptors into the ground.
What You Should Probably Remember Instead
Patrick Patterson did it all.
Well, all is an exaggeration. He didn’t do anything that helped the team, you know, win a single game, or anything.
But! Look at the numbers! Patterson had a staggering .713 true shooting percentage in the series; that number is impressive on its own, but when you consider that a hobbled Amir Johnson was the only other player with a TS% above .550, that’s a ridiculous number, as if somehow Patterson absorbed everyone’s shooting skill, like the NBA Playoffs equivalent of Rogue from the X-Men.
Patterson was also the only Raptor with a positive net rating (outside of Greg Steimsma’s two minutes), at, again, an impressive number: +14.0. The team overall was a -14.5 but Patterson was, according to the numbers, a one-man wrecking crew out there.
He wasn’t, though. He’s still, you know, Patrick Patterson. Even if you watched the games and thought Patterson was doing all the right things out there, he was still (at best) the sixth option on offence, and only one guy on a defensively challenged team.
What’s amusing about this is that it encapsulates Patterson’s Raptors career. He always seemed to do all the right things on the floor, shoot high percentages, defend well, rebound well; and on paper, the numbers backed up that he was a critical factor in Toronto being a winning team.
But as soon as you asked him to do a little more, like maybe become the fourth or even fifth option, he staged a disappearing act. The next postseason proved the perfect case in point; despite the Raptors being a deeper, more complete, 56-win team, Patterson’s postseason numbers declined across the board, even though his minutes went up and he started several games.
And then a knee injury in 2017 robbed him of whatever effectiveness he had left, and he's struggled ever since.
So while everyone in the Raptors franchise and in the fanbase cringes at 2015, Patterson might be the only person outside of Washington who remembers it fondly.
Other than severe irritation, what do you remember from the infamous 2015 sweep? Sound off in the comments below!