The Toronto Raptors have no intention of fading into that dark night and missing out on the playoff party. They still see hope and a chance to get in the playoffs. Even if they do did you happen to catch the Boston Celtics game yesterday? They put a beating on the Dallas Mavericks that was real just impressive to say the least. Also, you can bet that the Celtics learned a powerful lesson last year getting taken to the seventh game by the Hawks. If the Raptors some how avoid the Celtics the task is not much easier. How bout the league M.V.P elect Lebron James. He has lead just about every M.V.P race you can find on the internet. I take part in one of those and King James has been on top all year:
M.V.P and Roy Rankings
That does not seem like a series that the Raptors can win. The only other option that would be realistic as a match-up for the Raptors is the Orlando Magic. While the Raptors have taken a step backwards after losing to the Magic last year. Orlando has taken a huge step forward. They are flirting with becoming a contender in the East. A recent loss to Boston would suggest they are not there yet. The Raptors also have got a win over the Magic this year. They have not beat the Cavs or Celtics. But in a 7 games series the Raptors would be a huge underdog against the Magic as well. So the bottom line to all of this would suggest that the Raptors are in tough no matter what the outcome of the next 3 months.
You can point to injuries and they have played a role in what has happened. But the Raptors have had many games well in hand that they have let slip away. They could have a much better record and it would be not unreasonable to think that they should. I think the true fans want to believe that this team can still salvage the season and make it to the playoffs. Part of me wants to see this happen. However part of me does not because I just don't know what that will do for the long term future. I mean the goal is to win it all, or at least it should be. I do not think anyone is thinking the Raptors can win the championship this year right? If the Raptors can get in the draft lottery and draft a quality player is that not better for the long term picture? Being able to draft a top player in the draft could be start of fixing the Raptors issues at the wing spot. How nice would a Gerald Henderson look like as a Raptor? There are some other names that you might be able to find. But that is not very fun to cheer for. I think most of us felt the Raptors days of being in the draft lottery were behind them. But here we sit just 2 years removed from a Division Title talking about the draft lottery. Maybe this can be like what happened for the Spurs. They had an injury plagued awful season and they went to the draft lottery and won. The prize of that lottery was Tim Ducan. Not to say that the Raptors were as good at that Spurs team that got Ducan. But they do have some quality parts in Bosh, Calderon and now it seems Bargnani. That is not a bad place to re-tool from.
Bryan Colangelo has not made a move to this point.( Jake Voskhul signing aside ) He has said to have been working very hard to make a deal though. But if Colangelo is forced to wait till the trade deadline it may be not such a bad thing as he will have a clear picture of where his team is at. What moves he makes will have far more to do with next season though. Next season could be the most critical on for the Raptors in quite some time. It will ultimately determine the future of Chris Bosh. If you think this team is better off without Bosh you are crazy. Bosh is still the straw that stirs the drink and it is much harder to sell a new star to come to Toronto. Chris Bosh has at least grown to know and by all indications enjoy the city of Toronto. Just having the cap space to sign players is not enough. They need reason to want to sign with a team. Look at some other teams around the league for proof of that. Were players running to Chicago when they had a ton of cap space? How bout Memphis, L.A Clippers or Atlanta. But if you can keep Bosh you have the chance of him helping bring others to the party. If you don't have him what do you have beyond what you always have had to attract free agents? The answer is not much.
Forgive me for not planning the parade route based on wins over the Bulls and Kings. Still we can be optimistic that this team has not given up and is showing some much needed fight. I would love for them to pull off some miracle out of all this. I just try to keep things in perspective and understand that no matter what happens the rest of the way it will be much lower from the goals laid out at the start of the year. That is frustrating for all connected to this franchise.