The so-called experts in Las Vegas and at ESPN have predicted a slide in the standings for ..."/> The so-called experts in Las Vegas and at ESPN have predicted a slide in the standings for ..."/>

R-E-L-A-X The Raptors will be just fine


The so-called experts in Las Vegas and at ESPN have predicted a slide in the standings for the 2017-18 version of the Toronto Raptors. With all this doom and gloom in the forecast, perhaps its time to take a page from the book of Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers. R-E-L-A-X. The Raptors will be just fine.

Back in 2014, the Green Bay Packers got off to a 1-2 start . Many Packers fans felt like the sky was falling after it looked like their team was headed towards a 1-15 season until their Super Bowl winning All-Pro QB Aaron Rodgers stepped in and delivered a messaged to their fan base.

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Rodgers said:

"“R-E-L-A-X. Relax, we’re going to be O.K.”"

That sentiment rings true for Toronto Raptors fans heading into the start of the 2017-18 season.


The Raptors Eastern Conference rivals the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics have been dominating the headlines during the offseason. The Celtics added Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum while the Cavs added Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder.

Many experts have already pencilled in an NBA finals between Golden State and the winner of the Cavs and Celtics in the Eastern Conference.


The Toronto Raptors have the same core of players who were two games away from the NBA finals back in May of 2016.

They still have a back court that features two perennial all-stars in DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry and both are still in the midst of their prime. DeRozan is still just 28 years-old while Lowry is 31.

They re-signed Serge Ibaka who is one of the better power forwards in the NBA and is just 27 years-old. Ibaka led the NBA in blocks in 2012 and 2013 and has been named to the NBA All-Defensive team three-times during his eight-year career.

The Raptors got rid of an under achieving Cory Joseph who has never averaged double figures in scoring throughout his career. In exchange, they picked up CJ Miles who is a savvy veteran who has averaged in double figures in scoring just about every year over the past decade.

Toronto also has three very young, talented and athletic centres in Jonas Valanciunas, Lucas Nogueira and Jakob Poeltl. The oldest of the three is just 25 years-old and each player has improved from year to year. Valanciunas and Nogueira are just entering the prime of their careers.

One of the three needs to step up and show that he can be the guy for the Raptors during key points in a game. But they’re all solid players.


The Raptors bench is much better than it was one-year ago today. The emergence of several young players like Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell, Delon Wright and Fred VanVleet has made for intense competition for every single spot on the Raptors 15-man roster.

Complacency on any team leads to poor results while the Raptors have intense competition for just about every position on the team.

They drafted OG Anunoby out of Indiana who may turn out to be every bit as good as the Celtics heralded rookie Tatum.

Anunoby had his college career cut short due to injury while Tatum had the benefit of playing in a full season at Duke under a national spotlight. Keep in mind that Duke lost to South Carolina in the second round of the NCAA tournament while the Philadelphia 76ers No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz couldn’t even lead his Washington Huskies into the tournament.

Both Tatum and Fultz look like really nice players but who is to say that it is 100 percent certain they’ll turn out to be better pros than Anunoby? It’s way too early to tell.

It is also not a given that Irving is going to gel with his teammates in Boston and leap frog LeBron James and the Cavs into the finals. Irving is the same guy who was frustrated playing with James and it’s not a certainty that Irving, Hayward and Al Horford will become the three amigos and blow past DeRozan, Lowry and Ibaka as Eastern Conference contenders.


Relax Raptors fans. This is a team that is going to win a heck of a lot of basketball games this season.

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The Raptors still have the same core of players who have made it to the playoffs four years in a row and won the Atlantic Division three of the past four years.

This is a really good basketball team.

Relax. The Raptors will be just fine.