Toronto Raptors: Prehistoric Powerhouse
Chris Pratt isn't the only man taming Dinosaurs these days. Substitute a lush green island for the great white north, replace Jeff Goldblum with Masai Ujiri and Canada has it's very own Jurassic Park. I bet Dwayne Casey doesn't often get compared to Chris Pratt but this one's a freebie. The Raptors are playing good basketball. They find themselves on a 4 game win streak and they hold a fantastic record of 21-8. Dwayne Casey has completely changed the way this team moves the ball and it has lead to the 3rd highest shooting percentage in the league, while Toronto is scoring 30% of their points from behind the 3 point line. Last season they attempted 24 3's a game compared to 31 this year, and that is exactly what Dwayne Casey had in mind. The Raptors are playing well on both ends of the floor, improving their defensive efficiency from last season and have been getting meaningful minutes from young contributors like rookie OG Anunoby, Jakob Poeltl, Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam. Most young teams have issues with turnovers while the Raptors have managed the 3rd best assist to turnover ratio in the league.
Despite their red hot start the Raptors are exactly where we thought they'd be in the east. They sit at third behind the mighty Cavaliers and outstanding Celtics and unless either team falls off a cliff, they'll stay right where they are. Looking at who they may match up with at the 6 seed, I can't help but daydream of a Bucks rematch or even a fun battle with the Wizards. Until then, the Raptor's schedule doesn't look too tough and if they can stay healthy they'll keep rolling. Tonight they play the second half of a back to back against the Philadelphia 76ers after beating up on the Hornets in Charlotte last night. Even though a road back to back can be especially tough, I can see the Raptors pulling out a win against the struggling 76ers in what is sure to be an entertaining game. Who knows, but if the Raptors keep playing this style of ball, they may be a different playoff team than ghosts of Raptors past. Considering their competition, a conference final exit seems like their ceiling but if this is anything like Jurassic Park the T-Rex named Lebron James will stand victorious in the end.