In case you haven’t been paying attention, the Toronto Raptors have become quite the big deal in the basketball world. This point was hammered home the other night during the third-annual Drake Night at Air Canada Centre. Although the Raptors lost to the Warriors, it was a great night for the city of Toronto. Drake put on quite a show, and the team is playing an entertaining brand of basketball. The city is gaining quite the reputation in the sporting world. The Blue Jays have become an elite team in baseball, and the Raptors have done the same in the NBA. Here a few reasons why you should root for the Raptors this season.
Raptors fans have been using this hashtag this season because they feel like the team is playing with a chip on their shoulder. DeMar DeRozan started this hashtag and has now caught on as motivation tool for the team. DeRozan uses the saying as his own motivational tool to improve each season, which has has, and it’s definitely obvious this season. hey know this is this window of winning, as last year’s 56 wins was the most the team had in franchise history. Despite their success, they know they are seen as the underdog and no one believes they can slay the dragon that is the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Raptors have something to prove!
2: Last Year the Raptors Arrived
As previously mentioned, last season was the best season in Raptors’ history. The Raptors made their long-awaited rise to excellence in the NBA. In the 21st year of the franchise’s existence, Toronto was chosen to host the NBA All-Star Game for the first time. Kyle Lowry was voted by the fans as the starting point guard for the Eastern Conference. The Raptors’ were a franchise-record 56-23, which was good enough to win the Atlantic Division and finish second to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference. It was also the first time that the Raptors won 50 games in a season. The Raptors’ winning percentage of .683 was the highest in Toronto professional sports history.
In the playoffs, the Raptors continued their magical run. Led by star players DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, Toronto won the second playoff series in franchise history, knocking off the Indiana Pacers in a magical Game 7 to win the first round. In the second round, the Raptors again went the distance. They knocked off a talented Miami Heat team in Game 7 to head to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in the history of the franchise.
Once they got there, everyone expected the Raptors to fold quickly to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. It didn’t happen that way though. The Raptors surprised basketball analysts by pushing the Cavaliers to six games before losing. It was the end of the best season in franchise history, and it was an announcement that the Raptors have arrived. Last year’s success set up this season’s high expectations.
3: Drake Works For Us
Yes that is right, the hottest rapper in the world works for the Toronto Raptors. Drizzy is the official Toronto Raptors’ Global Ambassador. Drake helped rebrand the Raptors, helping redesign the jerseys and logo and planning out All-Star weekend in the 6. The Raptors hold an annual “Drake Night” which was a night dedicated to the rapper. Drake sits courtside, where he likely will will try and interact with the players in an entertaining and light matter. He’s talked trash to his buddy LeBron, starred down players such as Kevin Durant, and even distracted Justin Holiday into a five-second call. When it comes down to it, every player in the NBA listens to Drake and is probably a huge fan of his. It is pretty awesome having one of the most popular people in music being proud of your team and having your back.
#4 The Toronto Huskies Are Amazingly Awesome
Throwback jerseys are always a huge hit and usually are very well received. The Raptors took this logic to the next level when they turned Air Canada Centre into a Toronto Huskies home court. You don’t know who the Huskies are? That is fine, since they just played one season all the way back in 1946-47 for the BAA, way before the NBA was established. The court and jersey looked beautiful and was just another reason why it is fun to get behind this franchise. The franchise was seriously thinking about being the Huskies when they joined the NBA in 1995, but they thought it was too close to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
5: Watch Out For Lucas Nogueira
When general manager Masai Ujiri selected a 21-year old unknown out of Brazil with the 16th pick in the 2013 draft, many scratched their heads in asked why. The seven-footer was seen as a huge project player and wasn’t going to help the team win now. Fast forward to 2016, and Nogueira has filled into his body nicely and is ready to contribute and help the team reach the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. The Brazilian is fun to watch in the paint, as he is learning how to use his body and become a force in the NBA.
6: This Year Has Been As Good As Advertised
Other than treating their fans to Drake performances, the Raptors have also put on quite a performance of their own for the fans. The Golden State Warriors, who added Kevin Durant to their talented squad in the offseason, have the best offense in the league. The Warriors score 115.4 points for every 100 possessions. Just behind them is the Raptors, who score 113.0 points for every 100 possessions.
The Raptors have a good young team that plays exciting basketball that features lots of scoring. The team is in second place in the Eastern Conference with a 14-7 record, just 1.5 behind the Cavaliers. This is the time for you to tune in to watch a few games if it has been a while. Toronto looks set to make some noise again this year, and it should be a fun ride to be a part of.