The NBA playoffs start up later this month, and for the first time since 2008, the Toronto Raptors will be participating. Since the franchise will be looking for its first playoff series win since 2001, Toronto should fully embrace the underdog role in the Eastern Conference.
If the playoffs started today, Toronto would be the number 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. That would mean they would actually be a favourite in the first round, and if they moved on, they would go up against Indiana or Miami. This would be the round in which Toronto can play the spoiler.
Just about every NBA analyst out there has predicted the Pacers and Heat will play in the Eastern Conference Finals. Toronto has the individual talent from a fantasy basketball perspective to give those teams a scare.
Led by the backcourt duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, the Raptors went 2-2 on the season against Indiana, but 0-4 against Miami. The good news right now it is looking as though Indiana will settle in as the number 2 seed, meaning Toronto would face them in the second round if both teams win. Toronto’s size inside will be able to neutralize Indiana’s greatest strength in that matchup.
Along with the guards, Jonas Valanciunas, Amir Johnson and Terrence Ross are all having breakout fantasy basketball seasons for the Raptors. No one gave this franchise much attention at the start of the season, but they have been playing very well since the Rudy Gay trade early on in the year. That trade allowed Toronto to obtain key rotation players to add depth.
Despite a very respectable 45-32 record, many will dismiss Toronto as a non-contender. Embracing the underdog role could really motivate the franchise to push the best teams in the Eastern Conference quite a bit.
Photo credit: @GettingInsideNBA
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