Sam Mitchell has correct take on Raptors’ postseason potential

The Toronto Raptors are now locked into the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference after just one season in the lottery. Nick Nurse has this team humming despite some lackluster bench depth and injury concerns that had many predicting they would be no more than a play-in team.

The Raptors are not going to go into their hypothetical first-round series scared of the rival Philadelphia 76ers, as they’ve already taken them down on three different occasions. That can-do attitude has done wonders for them against the league’s best.

While most teams with a top-four seed are trying to avoid going to Brooklyn and dealing with the Kevin Durant-led Nets, Toronto might be able to do the most damage of any team that goes into the first round as a lower seed. Former Raptors coach Sam Mitchell is very bullish on their potential.

Mitchell believes that the “worst spot to be in” in the Eastern Conference playoff picture is getting matched up against the Raptors. Mitchell cites the fact that Toronto doesn’t fear the 76ers or Bucks as a reason to be worried about their ability to do damage in the playoffs.

Sam Mitchell expects big things from the Toronto Raptors.

While the Raptors are a very young team that could struggle to generate consistently excellent halfcourt offense, they have an All-Star point guard in Fred VanVleet and an All-NBA standout in Pascal Siakam. That could be enough to swing one or two games in their favor in the first round, especially with the 76ers coming in at less than 100%.

Toronto has beaten the 76ers three times and the Celtics twice. Even though Giannis Antetokounmpo only played in one of Milwaukee’s three games against Toronto, the Raptors still went 3-0 against the Bucks this season. With a top 10 defense and deep starting lineup, the ingredients for an upset are all there.

While Mitchell didn’t win a playoff series and was a sub-.500 coach in Toronto, he can take solace in the fact that his playoff appearances in 2006-07 and 2007-08 were the only times this franchise made the playoffs in an 11-year span.

Opinions on Mitchell’s tenure in Toronto vary wildly among Raptors fans, it sounds like he is still very bullish on what this team can do in the postseason. Even if Toronto doesn’t have a ton of major media cheerleaders against Philadelphia, their former coach is firmly in their corner.