By Kimberly Daniels
What a time for Raptors fans across the country! Visions of a championship are dancing in their dreams and the buzz of playoff season is in the air.
The Raptors finished the regular season with a franchise record 59 wins putting them 1st overall in the East, their “bench mob” won respect from many and Head Coach Dwayne Casey is in talks for Coach of the Year. They undoubtedly had their best season yet.
But can the Raptors do it?
Can the Raptors silence the haters, earn the respect of the league and win a championship?
Well, the short answer is yes and as DeRozan recently reminded everyone that while the Raptors “swag is at an all time high” it’s going to take a few more things than swag to crown them champs.
The Raptors will have to come out in Game 1 against the Washington Wizards with grit. Locking down early on offensive rebounds, and controlling the paint will set the tone for this matchup.
While the Raptors added C.J Miles this season who is known for his 3-point shooting ability and DeRozan is taking and making more 3-point shots than any other season, they will have to understand that they are much more productive as a team feeding their bigs inside. The Raptors have a tendency to take some unnecessary long range shots and post-season doesn’t have time for that.
The old saying goes “offence wins games but defence wins championships.” Washington Wizards Bradley Beal will need to be controlled and overall the Raptors will need to focus on perimeter defence to ensure success in this series. A true championship team shows up with heart on the defensive end creates momentum from forced turnovers and steals.
I mean surely if it was up to Drake – Gods Plan is for the Raptors to break the game one curse and sail through the first round, but it wouldn’t be tradition unless the Raptors gave their fans a few mini heart-attacks along the way.
Prediction: Raptors in 5