Well, its that time of year again folks. Its Raptors season!!! So toss your already tear soaked Maple Leafs jerseys, next to your still beer soaked Blue Jays gear and pick back up your pride as your only playoff team of last season and most likely this season is about to tip off tonight at 7:30 pm at the Air Canada Centre! Who are they playing? Who care’s Toronto, its time to win again. But for those who are actually curious, they’re playing the Atlanta Hawks (BOOOO!!!). So what can you expect from the Toronto Raptors this season? Well let me tell you!
The Raptors finished 48-34 last season with an Atlantic Division crown but came up just short in game seven of the first round of last years playoffs. This year, Im going to go out on a limb and proclaiming early that the Raptors will go 52-30 and will go on to the Conference Finals, falling short to the Cleveland Cavaliers. With a Lebron James-less Miami Heat with an aging Dwayne Wade, an injury prone Derrick Rose in Chicago and a less than stunning Brooklyn Nets, I truly believe the Raptors only real competition this season in the Eastern Conference are the Cleveland Cavaliers (who conveniently picked up Lebron James and Kevin Love … yikes!).
Under Head Coach Dwayne Casey‘s tutelage the Raptors have improved every season since he joined the team in 2011-2012. The Toronto Raptors have gone:
- 2011-2012: 23-43
- 2012-2013: 34-48
- 2013-2014: 48-34
- 2014-2015: 52-30?!?!?! … Maybe!!!
Not only have they improved every year under Dwayne Casey but the Raptors have their entire starting roster back for their 20th season. With another year for this young team to gel and come together, the opportunities are endless. The bench for the Raptors is exceptional and simply do not get enough credit as Greivis Vásquez and Patrick Patterson are absolutely stellar. Vásquez averages 9 points and 5 assists while Patterson averages 9 points and 5 rebounds coming off the bench and with limited playing time, LIMITED, thats impressive!
#WeTheNorth Toronto Raptors 2013-2014 Season Highlights
Jonas Valančiūnas is back for his 3rd season with the team and could be the key to the Toronto Raptors success. He improved last season averaging 11.3 points per game and 8.8 rebounds from his 8.9 points per game and 6 rebounds, the season before and if he could become a 15 and 10 or even 20 and 15 player (more likely 15 and 10), that would be absolutely huge. Some people (cough cough Tim cough cough) are even proclaiming him as the next greatest Lithuanian basketball player of all-time. Maybe a little pre-mature but definitely a possibility. Jonas‘s technique is through the roof and the ceiling for this kids potential is ridiculously high.
Valančiūnas Posts Career High 26 Points Against 76ers
With Amir Johnson playing with what is expected to be an improved Valančiūnas, the Raptors could have two of the more dynamic and consistent big men in the game. Johnson has been the king of consistency the past two seasons as he’s averaged 10 points and 7 rebounds per game and plays with a certain tenacity that has endeared him to the city of Toronto. Terrence Ross should also be a nice surprise as word out of camp is that Ross has taken his poor performance in last years playoffs and used that as fuel to only get better. With DeRozan and Lowry playing the way they are, look for Ross to see a few more 3 PT attempts as the Raptors swingman.
Terrence Ross Posts a Clean 360 Lay-up
Kyle Lowry who resigned with the Raptors in the off-season for a nice $48 million contract is back with the team and I’m expecting big things from the 6 foot PG this season. Last season Lowry averaged 17.9 points and 7.4 assists while averaging 36.2 minutes per game. With a second year under their belts, I look for Lowry to improve those numbers and step up to a 20+ points per game this season as the teams flow should be much improved. Lowry has always been a dynamic player but is just finally getting his opportunity to flourish as a true starter, I expect him to make the jump and become a true star in this NBA.
Kyle Lowry shows off his overall game
Lastly DeMar DeRozan is back for his 6th season with the Raptors. DeRozan had a phenomenal year last season as he averaged 22.7 points and 38.2 minutes per game. I expect much of the same from the Raptors franchise player as he should go for an average of 22-25 points this season. I don’t expect a break out season from DeMar simply because of the team first mentality that the Raptors play with but you can expect a sprinkle of stellar performances in a few games throughout the season, showcasing what he can do if need be.
DeMar DeRozan puts up 40 points on the Mavericks
So thats my Preview: 2014-2015 Toronto Raptors Season, be sure to share your thoughts on the team or the NBA season in general in the comment box below or Tweet me @D_ScHramER34 with the #elitesportsblog and I’ll be sure to tweet you back! In the mean time, kick back, have a cold one and enjoy watching your Toronto Raptors #WeTheNorth! Cheers!