MVP, MVP, MVP! The Air Canada Center was roaring with “MVP” chants for two time all-star DeMar DeRozan on November 12. It has been exactly that kind of a start for him and the Toronto Raptors this season. They have continued exactly where they left-off last season, which was the Eastern Conference finals where they lost to the future-champs Cleveland Cavaliers. With the most efficient offense in the entire league, things seem to be falling in place for yet another successful playoff run for the Raptors. But is this going to be enough to make a finals appearance for the first time in franchise history?
After the first quarter of the season, DeMar DeRozan has proven all the critics wrong establishing himself as an elite scorer in the league. He has now scored 30+ points in 13 games this season. He is currently averaging 28 points per game this season and is also the most efficient among the top 10 scorers in the league. His performance this season has taken the entire league by surprise. “Best footwork I’ve seen in a long time,” his team USA teammate Kevin Durant said after a game against the Raptors. He is having a career best season so far and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Analysts compare DeRozan’s game to the undisputed greatest of all-time Michael Jordan. Indeed, it is an exciting time to be a fan of the Toronto Raptors.
Even with the complete dominance of DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors are far from being a one-man show. They are playing great team basketball. All-star Kyle Lowry has continued to provide this young team with much needed leadership, leading into the emergence of a greater efficiency from the role players on the roster. Player such as Terrence Ross, Corey Joseph, and Patrick Patterson have proved to be reliable options off the bench.
Now in his 6th year of coaching the Raptors, Head Coach Dwayne Casey is on track to improve their regular season record for the 6th consecutive year. Even though the Raptors have proved themselves to be a strong force in the eastern conference, they cannot seem to find a way to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers as they have lost all three of their games against them.
Great strides have been made, but unfortunately for the raptors the road to the finals goes through Cleveland, a team that they have been struggling against. Nonetheless, it should be an exciting season as this is proving to be the greatest Raptors team ever assembled. The season is still young, and there is a lot more that can happen between now and the playoffs in the spring. As a fan, one can only hope that things improve as the playoffs inch closer.
– Aaditya Sondhi