Sorry, Vince Carter and Chris Bosh. You both had great runs with Toronto in your respective eras, but this year's Raptors team is by far the best we've ever seen.
Somehow, Toronto's gone fairly unnoticed yet again. And for those that don't know, they are an astounding 47-17 and are the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Not only that, but they have already accomplished something this season that even the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors haven't:
It’s March 7th and the Toronto Raptors just became the first team in the NBA to clinch a playoff spot.— Kevin Rashidi (@KevinRashidi) March 8, 2018
So, why is it that we keep overlooking these guys? Pundits will point the the fact that we've seen Toronto perform well in the regular season before only to choke it away in the postseason with a sudden inability to score.
However, something about this team seems different. They've not only solidified their bench with plenty of young talent that can create their own shots, but their star captain has taken it up a notch.
DeMar DeRozan is dishing the ball at a career high 5.2 assists per game, but finally making the three-point shot at an above-average rate has been the biggest change in his game. He's no sniper from deep, but he's forced defenses to stay honest against him on the perimeter at long last.
Overall, he's playing with a newfound confidence we haven't seen. And he isn't afraid to show it:
DeMar DeRozan is both right now. pic.twitter.com/Lop8vZOhYf— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 8, 2018
These Raptors are indeed for real and we need to acknowledge that before its too late. Before you know it, they'll be the ones kicking our teams out of the postseason for a change.
And that could include you as well, Cleveland.