The Toronto Raptors haven’t exactly been an incredibly successful franchise. They have seen their share of superstars including Chris Bosh, Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady, but each of them left for bigger and better opportunities. Well, since the Raptors lost Bosh in 2010, wins and success have been scarce. Until a recent group of young players revitalized the organization and have Toronto looking at an NBA playoff birth.
The Raptors looked like a playoff team Monday night as they defeated the New Orleans Pelicans, 108-101. The win improved Toronto’s record to 27-24, opening up some breathing space between them and the fourth place Atlanta Hawks. I would have never guessed that the Raptors would occupy the third position in the East come February, but with great guard play and an all-around team effort, it is reality.
Allow me to stop myself right there because a playoff birth is about as far as the Raptors 2014 season will go. I know that Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are playing out of their gourds, but there just isn’t enough experience and depth for this team to do serious damage. However, there is a bright future for this team and roster. I mean, look what they have been able to do so far this season. The franchise traded away their best player in Rudy Gay and somehow, it all turned around.
Depending on the final seeding and the first round matchups, I will give Toronto a chance to make it to the second round. They could draw a first-round opponent of the Chicago Bulls or Washington Wizards. Both teams can be beaten by the Raptors in the seven-game series. But no further than the second round and that is final because there is no way they can beat the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers. At this point, I think the Raptors’ franchise and its fans will be more than happy with a playoff birth. Just something to stop the bleeding, for now.
Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantNBA, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.