Raptors Need One Change to Dethrone the King of the East

CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 21: DeMar DeRozan /

"The Raptors have had great success in the regular-season since 2013, but have failed to live up to expectations in the playoffs. With only 5 games remaining in their best season, is Toronto ready to soar past its prior failures?"

If the Toronto Raptors ever want to be in the Finals, they have to change their mentality, and it starts with their leaders.

Dethrone the King of the East.


The only way Toronto fans can hope to get to the NBA Finals is to get past the obstacle they’ve struggled with for years. LeBron James has been a nightmare for the East since he’s came into the League.

However, if there was an opportunity to dethrone the King, it would be now. While the Raptors have probably the best chemistry in the league, the Cleveland Cavaliers are still struggling to find theirs.

Still, there is doubt that the Raps could make a push past the Cavs, even though Toronto currently has the best record in the East. The reason sounds simple to fix, but it really isn’t as easy people believe.

The Raptors stars need to have a winning mentality and show consistent leadership.

In that case, all the Raps need to do is say they can beat LeBron and they’ll be in the NBA Finals right? Well no. Considering just last year DeMar was asked if they had more time, could they have prevented getting swept by the Cavs. This is how he responded:

"DeRozan: “If we had LeBron on our team, too, we woulda won. We could say that all day, time, everything, but we didn’t. It happened. We got swept. It’s gonna be one of them long summers for us.”"

It gave a hopeless feeling to fans all over Toronto and it gave the same vibe to DeMar’s teammates. With that kind of mentality, there isn’t a way the Raptors could overcome the Cavaliers, because even they don’t believe it. DeMar has given credit to Kobe Bryant as his inspiration yet has failed to pick up on one of Kobe’s biggest traits—Mamba Mentality.

It’s now or never Raptors.

CLEVELAND, OH – MARCH 21: DeMar DeRozan /

Luckily, there is much more energy and talent on the Raptors roster this season. They couldn’t have been in a better situation with the East injuries/drama. The Raptors have one of the best benches in the NBA. With their new and improved offense, it shows how deep this team really is.

The Raps best scorer is undoubtedly DeRozan, who is averaging 23.4 PPG. While the 6’7″ guard was been able to score nearly 28 PPG consistently last year, he feels his scoring is only in case of emergency this year.

"“My scoring is in case of emergency,” said DeRozan. “I’m out there just feeling out the game, letting things come easy… Facilitating, finding guys, just trying to make my teammates better. At the end of the day, I know I can score whenever I need to score. It always comes in case of emergency.”"

To DeMar’s credit, he’s been helping his team more averaging about 1.3 more assists this season. He’s having his best offensive season so far, better than last season while attempting 3 fewer shots a game. The reason why is because of his ability to create shots for his teammates and not having to have the ball in his hands constantly. His usage rating has dropped from 34.3% last year to 29.7%.

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DeMar has averaged 17.6 PPG, 6.6 ASTS, 3 REBS 42% FG and 27% 3PT against the Cavaliers which are respectable numbers. Lowry didn’t play when the Raps beat the Cavs on January 11th but did participate in both losses. He’s had a good game shooting 7-10 (70% FG) and a bad game shooting 2-11 (18% FG).

If the Raptors stars struggle to stay consistent again in the playoffs, it will lead to another disappointing season. Neither Fred VanVleet or Pascal Siakim can lead the Raptors comeback against LeBron and the Cavs.

The Raptors stars need to remain vocal with each other, act like leaders and stay consistent if they hope to dethrone James.