The Toronto Raptors currently hold the third seed in the Eastern Conference, which may sound impressive, but what does it mean in reality? At 37 wins and 29 losses, they lead their division and are top three in the conference but would not even make the playoffs in the west. The drastic imbalance in team quality between the two conferences is no secret, but regardless, the Raptors have secured their place in the Eastern playoff picture.
Does this mean that they truly have a chance at making any sort of run though? It seems unlikely, especially with their inability to beat teams that should be easier victories. Recently they’ve had losses dealt by the Brooklyn Nets, the Washington Wizards, and the Atlanta Hawks, all teams that sit below them in the conference standings. This is not to say that they cannot beat these teams, as they have beaten all of them earlier in the season, but it is a slight concern as to whether the Raptors can hold up in a seven game series. It is hard to judge the actual quality of the team, as they do have a variety of quality players but cannot seem to win consistently against big matchups. DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, Kyle Lowry, John Salmons, and others, amount to more than enough raw talent to comprise an extremely talented ball team, but it’s a matter of fitting the pieces together that can truly make the machine work to perfection. Toronto fans haven’t had much to cheer about over the past few years as the team went through major rebuilding, but the cycle is coming around and the team now has an extremely young group of players who may be able to carry the team into serious contending. Whether that is going to happen this year is hard to say; my guess would be they do not yet have enough to truly compete with the talent of the East, let alone the West. But with that said, I do think Toronto, with young talent and a highly energetic fan base, have many exciting and successful years in their near future.
Eber is a member of the class of 2017.