Thursday, 7 March 2013

Are The Raptors a Playoff Team?

To date the Raptors are twelve games under five hundred at 22-35, and are currently sitting in the 9th pace in the East, six games back of Milwaukee for that final playoff spot. Now despite their sub five hundred record, its safe to say that the Raptors have been playing better ball over the last couple of months and have turned around their season from their horrific start, where they won only four out of their first 23 games. The addition of Rudy Gay, who was acquired in a three team trade, which saw the departure of the long time serving Raptor in Jose Calderon and the youthful Ed Davis, has proved to be an additional boost and uplifting for the team, as they have since continued to improve their game and played above five hundred basketball.

The main concern for fans now is, is the current Raptors team a playoff team? The answer is no, as even with the addition of Rudy Gay, and on a more smaller note, Sebastian Telfair, the Raptors are still missing key components that would enable them to play consistent ball and make a dent in the Eastern Conference. Yes they have DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay and who can drive the basket, hit crucial shots and create open looks for other players on the floor, however the Raptors are still missing that dignified big man who can rebound on the defensive and offensive boards, hits shots inside and create a problem for key opposing players. The Raptors have received contributions from bench players like Alan Anderson and John Lucas this season, however, it has been inconsistent on a game to game basis, and has hurt the Raptors in alot of games this season.

Now fans today are asking why didn't Colangelo make the trade to Chicago for Boozer and Robinson? It makes sense from from a fans perspective that in acquiring these two players it would fill the gap and Toronto to the next level, as Robinson would provide ample scoring from the bench and Boozer would give the Raptors a better presence on the boards and in the paint. However, the Raptors are building or at least trying to build a cohesive unit that can last for the next couple of years, and want to have players that get along in the locker room and want to play in Toronto. Nate Robinson has been around a number of teams and has had previous clashes with teammates and coaches, which is not the look or the kind of player the Raps want in their dressing room. Boozer is a great player and would definitely take the Raptors to the next level, however is contract is a problem , and with the Raptors already investing huge amounts of money in players like Rudy and DeMar, it would put the team in as situation where they would n't be able to have these key guys past this year. This why it made sense for the Raptors to hold on to Bargnani and not make the trade at the deadline, as they now have the opportunity to wait until the summer to better explore their options.

Raptors Needs
Despite being a sub five hundred team the Raptors are on the right path and have added a key component in Rudy gay that will be detrimental to their success in the near future. The Raptors will challenge for a playoff spot this season, and it will most likely come down to the last couple of games, However the reality is that they are ultimately not a playoff ready team that can handle the likes of Miami, New York, Indiana or Atlanta. What is a necessity for the Raptors in the off season is a Center that is gritty , can score in the paint, and provide much needed help on the boards, and they need role players that can provide a spark from the bench and contribute to the team on a consistent basis.

Although, the Raps are not a playoff ready team this year, it is clear, that they are not only on the right path in building a cohesive unit that is playoff ready but will be in the playoff hunt next season and will have the ability to better match up against top teams in the East.

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