Perhaps this come across as premature seeing that the Toronto Raptors have only played a grand total of 4 games. I will also admit that in all the game they have played thus far (in exception to their game against Oklahoma City Thunder), the Toronto Raptors showed a competitive spirit which had not been seen in this team for years. But as every year that begins with promise and hopes of a graduated team for the previous year, the Raptors are 1-3 at this point; which begs the question, is this another case of “same song different tune” with this team?
In a previous article I asked Are The Toronto Raptors For Real? I felt the question was very appropriate seeing they were dominating every team in the preseason; as was the case of the Toronto Blue Jays during their preseason in April, the Raptors were arguably the best team, providing fans with hope that this would be the Raptors team that would finally break the trend of non-playoff teams. To be very honest, from what I have seen thus far, I cannot detect any signs of improvement from the Raptors teams over the past 6 seasons. There is reason to be hopeful, they have a skilled and competitive guard in Kyle Lowry, a great rookie center in Jonas Valanciunas, and Andrea Bargnani is playing his usual All-Star calibre game; the issues plaguing the team in the past have been consistency, balance and confidence. When the Raptors acquired Landry Fields for instance, they acquired a player that not only was a 3 point threat, but someone who would give the Raptors another dimension that would help them, as he did the New York Knicks. At this point I can say that Laundry Fields has been anything but a threat as he is currently averaging 2.5 points per game, not to that this will not improve but it is not helping the Raptors in the immediate present. In their lopsided loss last night to the Oklahoma City Thunder, they had only 3 players who managed to score in double-digit figures; Oklahoma City on other the hand had 6 players in double-digit figures and could have had 7 if Eric Maynor had scored one more point.
If the Toronto Raptors have any aspirations of making the playoffs this year, they are going to need a more balanced attack from everyone, not just their starters but also from the players that come off the bench. This team is going to need to be consistent in their intensity level in each quarter of each game they play; if they even rest on their laurels for a minute, they’ll suffer the same fate they did Tuesday night against Oklahoma City. Above all things. the Raptors need confidence. They cannot look at a team like Oklahoma City Thunder and be completely overwhelmed to the point that they forget that there is a game to win and one that they deserve to win. If the Raptors can tackle these aspect, they will have a successful season; if they are not up to the task of resolving these aspects that are hindering them, then it is going to be a very short and uncomfortable season.