A week from today the Raptors will have Media Day and another season will be underway. Aside from that I am not sure what to expect or more importantly what to root for in terms of this franchises future. Even the most optimistic but logical Raptors fan can only at best hope for this team to finish in sixth. In a season where other NBA Franchises have all but started a marketing campaign to land the number one pick and Andrew Wiggins.
It has been a significant off-season in terms of change for the Raptors in the front office. In terms of the on court product the major change is Andrea Bargnani is finally gone. The Raptors have added a lot of depth pieces for the most part this off-season. Tyler Hansbrough, D.J Augustin, Steve Novak and others. This team is dependant on the pieces that made up this roster last season.
Dwane Casey did survive the shake-up in the front office but you have to wonder what he would have to do to keep his job after this season? Make the playoff would seem to be obvious answer. Which leads to the confusion I have this season and the future. If the Raptors do make the playoffs is that really a good thing? It would be if you can envision this group developing and getting better over time. What I see as the best outlook for this current group is to be the Atlanta Hawks had been in the last decade or so.
A team that makes the playoffs but really have very little expectations beyond the occasional chance to advance to the second round of the playoffs. If you go back and remember what we have heard from Masai Ujiri and more importantly Tim Leiweke have painted a much different vision for this franchises future.
Aside from Jonas Valanciunas I fail to see the Raptors player that has this huge amount of potential let to achieve. Raptors have a lot of guys that are at best a step below all-star level talents. You could say that about Rudy Gay, Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry at there very best are borderline all-star talents.
I find myself entering a season wondering what exactly I am rooting for and what is best for the long term future of this franchise?
At least the steps have been made to eliminate the failure of the past as move forward by eliminating the last connections to the Chris Bosh era with Bargnani and Calderon being in the past. It took far too long to do that and the Raptors now are truly in a phase of rebuilding. This current group has a two year window to prove if they belong in the future of this franchise going forward.
It is just unfortunate the Raptors are not in a true position to bottom out with Andrew Wiggins being available in the upcoming draft. He really could be a difference maker for this franchise in the long term. This is a case of unfortunate timing. A Canadian superstar that wants to be a Raptor and the Raptors may end up with a ticket to a first round playoff exit instead of the NBA lottery.
It doesn’t exactly inspire you for this upcoming season does it?