While much has been made about the state of other organizations in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors had a quietly successful season. Dealing with injuries all year, they managed to push a reeling Philadelphia 76ers squad to the brink in the first round of the postseason before bowing out with their heads held high.
One individual who really came away from that series with an improved reputation was Scottie Barnes. The youngster gutted it out despite being injured and played with the kind of desire and want to be out on the court that was in stark contrast to James Harden of the 76ers, who looked like he’d rather be anywhere else for most of the series.
This leaves the Toronto Raptors in a good place as they head into this offseason, knowing that better days are surely ahead.
Perhaps it was the NBA championship win of 2019 or just the fact that Toronto looks like a cool place to live, but the Raptors are not one of the league’s backwater organizations like they used to be. They have also done an amazing job in recent years of rebranding themselves and moving on from the often-talked-about Vince Carter era and even the Chris Bosh-led teams of the past.
Franchise icon Kyle Lowry is now playing for the Miami Heat, yet the Raptors didn’t really miss a beat this season. Fans knew they would take a step back from true contender status in a suddenly more crowded Eastern Conference but have to be extremely happy with their showing in the regular season and beyond.
Unlike some of the other franchises, who are heading into the summer in complete panic, the Raptors are in a good place. There will be tough decisions to make down the road, and expectations will surely rise over time, too, but for now, they can take comfort in not only being where they’re supposed to be, but in all likelihood, a ways ahead of their projected trajectory as well. Here is what they need to get right this summer.