After a season spent far away from their Canadian home, the Toronto Raptors are finally coming back north, as it was officially announced that the Raptors will play their home games at Scotiabank Arena for the first time since the pandemic-induced hiatus the league took in 2021. Players like Gary Trent Jr. and Khem Birch will finally play in Canada.
While the temporary hosts in Tampa did everything they could to make the best out of a lousy situation, it just didn’t feel the same. It had an impact on the win-loss record as well, as the Raptors lost more games at home last year than they did in the prior two seasons combined.
The fans have been rightfully clamoring for their beloved Raptors to come home, and October’s preseason opener against the Philadelphia 76ers will be the first time in almost two years that Scotiabank Arena will be full of Raptors fans. The players are just as excited to get back to Toronto as the fans are.
Relative newcomers like Yuta Watanabe haven’t played a single game in Toronto, and he’s clearly excited to ring in a new season with the Raptors fanbase. After a chaotic time at the airports in Los Angeles and Toronto, Watanabe has finally been able to get on the ground in Canada, and he’s thrilled to bring his combination of shooting and defense up north.
The Toronto Raptors are starting to regroup in Canada.
Trent, who signed a three-year contract with Toronto in the offseason, is making his first trip to the city. As always, he did so with his trademark style that not everyone can pull off so effortlessly.
Two of Masai Ujiri’s three draft picks also made one of their first stops to the city, as Scottie Barnes and David Johnson took in the sights and sounds of their home for the next few seasons. Considering that Dalano Banton is a Rexdale native, we’re sure he knows the area a bit.
Even though Goran Dragic didn’t get off to the best start when it comes to gaining fans in Toronto, he looked thrilled with the care package that the Raptors sent his way. Perhaps he’s warming to the idea of playing for Toronto, at least until he gets traded at the deadline.
We all missed the guys playing in Canada, and it looks like the players are thrilled to get back to their old stomping grounds. Hopefully, the return north translates into some extra wins.