Mar 14, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) scores over Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Grizzlies 99-86. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Raptors: The Road To A Franchise Record


Nothing that the Toronto Raptors have done this season can be considered predictable.

Fast-forward from their 6-12 start to their current place atop the Atlantic Division standings and what lies in between is a truly remarkable story.

The bottom line is that the Dinos are inching closer to a playoff berth for the first time since 2008, which on its own is impressive in many ways. Sprinkle in home-court advantage, a scenario looking more and more likely, and what has emerged is a team a couple years ahead of schedule.

Since dealing Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings, the Raptors (30-15) are tied with the Miami Heat (28-14) for the second-best winning percentage in the Eastern Conference at .667. The Indiana Pacers (30-14) are only slightly in front over that period at .681.

Furthermore, the Raptors share the best record in the Eastern Conference since the All-Star break (9-3) with a Brooklyn Nets team that also has designs on claiming the Atlantic Division title.

The current clip that the Raptors are on includes a 99-86 defeat of the Memphis Grizzlies at the Air Canada Centre on Friday night.

Mar 14, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry (7) shoots as Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen (9) defends at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Grizzlies 99-86. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Jonas Valanciunas led the way with a season-high 23 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Kyle Lowry (22 points, 12 assists) and Greivis Vasquez (17 points, six assists) also provided plenty of support at the point guard position as the Raptors improved to 37-27.

With the way the Raptors are playing and considering their remaining schedule, there is reason to believe they could put an exclamation point on the 2013-14 campaign by establishing a new franchise record for wins.

In both the 2000-01 and 2006-07 seasons, the Raptors tallied 47 wins.

The first time around resulted in a second place finish in the Central Division and an eventual exit in the conference semifinals. In the second instance, the Raptors were crowned Atlantic Division champions, but were eliminated in the first round.

I will note that the Raptors moved to the Atlantic Division after the 2003-04 season as part of a major realignment.

Mar 14, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) scores a three-pointer over Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley (11) at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Grizzlies 99-86. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Of course years have gone by and the players have changed, but there is still value to be found in eclipsing that mark.

With 18 games remaining, simple math reveals that the Raptors could establish a new high of 48 wins by going 11-7 down the stretch.

Here is a quick glance at the remaining opponents.

Home
Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Indiana, Philadelphia, New York, Milwaukee

Away:
Atlanta, New Orleans, Cleveland, Boston, Orlando, Miami, Milwaukee, Detroit, New York

The breakdown is even with nine at home and nine on the road. The teams in bold letters indicate what, in my opinion, are winnable games. So, in my world at least, the Raptors continue their strong play and end up with 49 wins and 33 losses.

A new franchise record would certainly be a nice addition to what the Raptors are poised to accomplish this season.

However, as we all know, regular season success can only career a team so far.

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  • webfeat

    Why isn’t New York bolded in the away games?

  • Jensan

    This is dependent upon no injuries and the recovery of PP, yes and this team may reach 50 games, which no one, but no one would have ever surmised 45 to 50 wins, especially Bryan C. tanker extraordinaire.
    More important, for next year who replaces Salmons as a 2/3 scorer off the bench and a backup center, and is it 10 million a year for 4 years for Kyle Lowry.
    With Salmons off the cap,Lowry wont be an issue unless he wants to play elsewhere.
    Johnson, Patrick Patterson, JV and who is the backup center– Spencer Hawes or Anderson Varajo
    The projected Luxury Tax at this time is $76.6 million for 2014/15.

    • http://www.twitter.com/noles506 Noles

      This team is essentially aside from the Rudy Gay trade a Colangelo built team…. he is not a tanker but a terrible GM… look what he did in Phoenix, he destroyed a good thing with bad moves. He made terrible decisions with cap space with Toronto. He will never work as General Manager in the NBA ever again I would guess.

      Lowry will get 7-8 million from Toronto if he wants to stick around, which I imagine he will…he is playing the best ball of his career, because of the system he is in and the team around him. Salmons is no loss. He is a salary dump. He was acquired to give some cap relief. Hayes will probably be dealt, that is a 6 million or so dollar savings for a bench warmer. The team has a pick probably in the top 20 coming up as well, in what is a deep NBA draft. They should be able to add a useful piece.

  • Jensan

    Salmons is a 1 million dollar dump , just as Hansborough , so for two million dollars you eliminate two positions valued at 10 million dollars, Camby has a value of 625,000 for this year.

    Lowry is between Dragic and Curry in value, which 7 million almost 11 million , though Dragic is a closer determination.

    Sign Chris Kaman or Hawes as a backup center, Kaman will cost approx. 2.5 – 3 million. Take Amir’s option.

    The team is now at 60 million dollars on the books with Lowry, Derozan, Ross, Amir, JV, pickup Patrick Pattersons option and Vasquez option and add Kaman.

    Sign Luol Deng at 4 years at 48 million similar to what Andre Igoduola received from GS.

    There is your starting 9 players at a cost of 72 Million dollars. The projected Tax is $76.6 million for 2014/2015.

    You have your first pick in this years draft plus 2 second picks. With your 2nd pick choose Russ Smith FOR a first year minimum of 507,000 and save the difference of the Dwight Bucyks which is not guaranteed for next year.

    You have about $15.6 million in crappy contracts with Fields, Hayes and Novak with 12.2 coming off the books next year,