The Raptors will try to challenge the Cavs the East: 2017-18 NBA Preview
The new NBA season is just a few days away and the teams are getting ready to start a new adventure that hopefully ends deep into the basketball year. In this 2017-18 NBA preview we’ll talk about the Toronto Raptors, a team that has been in the playoffs and competes at a high level in the Eastern Conference.
Last season the Raptors ended in third place with a 51-31 record, which is pretty good even if they play in the weakest conference in sports. Their coach is Dwane Casey, who will start his seventh season in charge of the team. The stars and leaders of the team are the backcourt tandem formed by DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, while the muscle of the team is Serge Ibaka.
The idea the front office has for this team is to keep them playing together so they can blossom into a championship caliber team. The ownership has committed hundreds of dollars to DeRozan, Lowry, and Ibaka with a juicy contract extension that will keep the core united for the next three seasons. The question here is: is this trio enough to even reach the NBA Finals?
What we’ve seen in the last seasons is clearly not enough, but there are new pieces were added to the puzzle. C.J. Miles and K.J. McDaniels were signed in free agency but it remains to be seen if they are the answer to a team that is close to really challenging the Cavs and the Celtics. There were some important departures this season, the players that left the team were: Cory Joseph, Patrick Patterson, P.J. Tucker, and DeMarre Carroll, who certainly will not be missed.
What the front office expects is to see major strides in the development of players like Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam, and Jakob Poetl. If the Raptors are going to get into championship contention these guys have to step up in their game. Then there is the rookie Anunoby, who was chosen with the 23rd pick of the 2017 NBA Draft.
The thing that really frustrates the fans is that the Raptors have been winning more than 45 games per season since 2012, and there is no assurance that they will get over the top this season. They will be competing against teams that are built in a similar manner in the east coast, we are talking about the Washington Wizards and the Milwaukee Bucks, teams that have gotten better over the years and have electric superstars leading them.
The Raptors best player is clearly DeMar DeRozan, he was chosen in the NBA 2009 Draft and has slowly evolved into one of the best players on the league. He loves to drive towards the basket and is really hard stop when he hits the rim, but the main knock on his game is his jumper that has never been consistent. The stats are cruel with DeRozan, but they don’t lie, he shot 26.6% from three-point range in a league where the three-pointer has become a necessity more than a gimmick.
It is very understandable that the fans want a team that really has a chance at winning the championship, but the front office is not to be blamed if things go south this season. The General Manager has done a great job assembling a team might that might give a surprise. The odds on a late title run from the Raptors don’t favor them, but this means that in case something special happens you can end up being rich, we recommend that you bet on the Raptors chances with Bet365 bonus code Canada, you’ll find awesome no deposit bonuses to set up your preseason betting.
The good news for the Toronto Raptors in a depleted Eastern Conference is that they did not lose any of their core players. We could say that things got easier for them after Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, and Paul Millsap left for the west coast, but regular season wins don’t mean anything if you can’t get it done in the playoffs. Maybe you can see Kyle Lowry’s contract extension as a win, but we are not so sure about Serge Ibaka, but there weren’t any other better options in the market at that price.
A realistic forecast and prediction for the 2017-2018 season is a third place finish and a second round playoff exit. This not what the fans want to hear or read, but the feeling that prevails is that this team has no room to grow, at least not with this roster, they would need to shake things up, or maybe even a rebuild wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Let’s remember that blowing up the team and tanking is not an option anymore, so at least this season the Toronto Raptors will play to win and see where it goes from there.