Even after winning the NBA championship, the Toronto Raptors still feel the need to prove themselves.
A new season for the Raptors is about to begin, and they’re going to do one of the most Raptors things ever, win the NBA title and still be doubted by the rest of the league. Yes, they may have lost their best player Kawhi Leonard, but this is still a team that won 17 out of 22 games without him. Two of these wins were against their eventual matchup in the NBA finals, The Golden State Warriors.
The Raptors kicked off their training camp with media day on Sept. 29, 2019 before leaving for Laval, Quebec. Only 10 out of the 20 players listed for this years training camp were there for the historic championship run. By the end of preseason, the Raptors roster will only have room for 15 players. Their first preseason game is against the Houston Rockets in Japan on Oct. 8, 2019 with their first game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Oct. 23.
The first open practise was held in Laval Quebec on Oct. 3. This was the first time Raptors fans got a chance to see the new team play. Players like, Pascal Siakam and O.G Anunoby showed off, throwing down massive dunks. At one point, O.G posterized Serge Ibaka with a two handed slam. It’s rewarding as a Raptors fan to see guys that have been with the team come into their own and make their way to becoming stars in the league.
With 10 new guys it’s going to take some time to decide who should stay and go. From the start of training camp, Raptors organization has 26 days to decide on a final 15.
This is a front office known for making some of the most intelligent moves in the NBA for the last couple years. They traded away Demar DeRozan, one of the franchises greatest players and a fan favourite for Kawhi and a chance at an NBA championship. That gamble paid off, even though Leonard turned out to be a one year rental, they made sure they were well equipped for his departure.
They did this by drafting and grooming players over the last couple years who people overlooked, like Pascal, O.G, Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell.
This years team feels like they have a lot to prove, maybe that’s just the mentality they need to be successful. They’ve always played as the underdogs, with no one giving them a chance. It’s worked for them so far so why change now, they are defending NBA champions for a reason.