Raptors lead the way in the Eastern Conference after strong start to season…
The Toronto Raptors have been on a steady journey towards new-found success over the past year or so, and this season could mark a real turning point in the franchise’s history.
As the 20th anniversary celebrations get underway this season, the franchise is riding a new wave of optimism, both within the organisation itself but on a much bigger scale which has the whole city inspired.
The atmosphere created in the Air Canada Centre in the playoffs last season was amongst the best you will find anywhere in the league, and it appears as though the players are intent on picking up from where they left off.
During that series against the Brooklyn Nets, there were key moments during which the Raptors lacked that post-season experience which is so important. The wily veterans of the Nets had it, and as a result they used it to their advantage to advance to the second round.
However, the likes of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are now a year older and wiser, and they have been an instrumental part of firing Toronto to a 6-1 start to the season which sees them lead the way in the Eastern Conference.
Naturally, it is still far too early to start making predictions, but as the momentum continues to build in Toronto, it would come as no surprise if they were amongst the leading pack when it comes to the business end of the season.
Their only loss so far this season has come against the Miami Heat, and while their wins are split between struggling teams and direct rivals, fans have seen enough to suggest that the Raptors can have their say in an otherwise underwhelming Eastern Conference.
Over the course of the next fortnight they will come up against both the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers, widely tipped to be the front-runners in the East, and so many more questions will be answered about this Raptors team.
However, there aren’t many teams in the NBA that can boast such widespread positivity at every level of their organisation, and it perhaps is filtering through on the court as the entire roster steps up and plays a role.
Given the quality of the East, it is unlikely that Toronto will slip too far from where they are now, but can they take their progress to the next level and compete consistently over the course of the entire year for top spot? If they stay healthy, there is no reason why not.