A Look At The Toronto Raptor's Journey To The NBA Finals
Start writing a post

A Look The Toronto Raptor's Fascinating Journey To The NBA Finals

23 years after their establishment, Toronto has made one of the most interesting journeys to their first Finals

21
A Look The Toronto Raptor's Fascinating Journey To The NBA Finals

Take a breath everyone.

The NBA Finals will not be the Cleveland Cavilers vs. the Golden State Warriors for the fifth consecutive year.

Even though the likeliness of this match-up happening in 2019 reached zero percent the moment LeBron James went to the Lakers last summer, it's still a relief to know that the team representing the East was not the Cavs nor a LeBron-led team, because he didn't make the playoffs on the Lakers anyway.

Obviously the Warriors still an easy pick to represent the Western Conference for the fifth consecutive year. No team, not even LeBron's Lakers, could match their level of talent on the court.

Even when their best player, Kevin Durant, went down with an injury in the second round series against the Houston Rockets, the Warriors responded by winning the series and sweeping the Portland Trailblazers in the Western Conference Finals. Golden State, after all, won the NBA title in 2015 and were on the verge of another one in 2016 after a record 73 regular season wins before Durant joined them.


Previewing the Warriors vs. Cavs NBA Finals...For the Next 30 Years youtu.be

Even though Golden State has been a part of the finals for 5 years in a row, it will feel strange to not see LeBron or Cleveland on the other side, and their opponents are one of the most interesting NBA Finals representatives in years.

The Toronto Raptors franchise has existed for just under a quarter-century, but have already garnered a history of underachieving and choking in the playoffs.

It all began when the team's first superstar and most iconic player, Vince Carter, missed what would have been the series-winning shot in the 2001 Eastern conference semi-finals against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Had Carter made that shot, history might have been different as they would have advanced to their first conference Finals and Carter's Raptors career might not have ended as ugly as it did when he forced a trade to the Nets in 2005.

Toronto found another all-star to replace Carter in Chris Bosh for a while, but Bosh would leave in free agency in 2010 to become apart of the iconic and controversial Miami Heat Big 3 with Dwayne Wade and LeBron James. To their credit, the Raptors drafted another all-star in DeMar DeRozan in 2010 and acquired Kyle Lowry in 2012 to become a contender again.

Unfortunately, DeRozan and Lowry's Raptors became apart of a narrative that refused to go away: Getting owned by LeBron James. Toronto would be eliminated from the playoffs at the hands of LeBron's Cavs for three consecutive seasons including their first trip to the Eastern Finals in 2016. The cherry on top, however, would be getting swept by LeBron last season despite owning the best record in the conference and having home court advantage.

The Raptors may have won 60 games that season, but they became a bigger joke than teams that were tanking at the time. So what did they do about it? They fired their head coach Dwayne Casey (who had won NBA coach of the year for that season anyway) and traded their face of the franchise DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard.

Most considered this trade to be terrible. Kawhi Leonard was a disgruntled superstar who wanted out of San Antonio and hinted at wanting to play in Los Angeles. Instead, he was sent into the heart of Canada for what could be only one season before leaving via free agency. The Toronto franchise basically admitted to DeRozan that they can't win a championship with him as the best player by trading him, and they took their chances on one season with one of the best players in basketball with Leonard.

And to the credit of Raptors president Masai Ujiri, it worked.

All season, the Eastern Conference was a four-team race between the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers, and Boston Celtics.

The Celtics took a step back after nearly reaching the Finals the previous season and were knocked out of the second round to Milwaukee. And Toronto would get past Philadelphia in a back-and-forth seven-game series and an (as a Sixers fan, BRUUUUUUUTALLLLLL) epic victory in Game 7 with a ridiculous game-winning shot by Leonard.

In the conference finals against a team, many proclaimed as the best in basketball, the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto overcame an 0-2 deficit and won four in a row to win the series.

And there you have it, the Toronto Raptors are in the NBA Finals for the first time ever.

Even if they win the championship against the current NBA dynasty in Golden State, Leonard may still depart this off-season for greener pastures, but the bold trade Ujiri made last year is still worth it either way. With a head coach and all-stars who were never going to get it done, they made the gutsy choice to rent Kawhi and the Raptors are going to a place they've never been before and may not see again for a while if he leaves. But they still get to taste the magic spectacle that is the NBA Finals.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Reclaim Your Weekends From The 'Sunday Scaries' With 'Self-Love Sundays' Instead
Olivia DeLucia

Laid back and taking it easy — sometimes that is the motto we all need after a busy week. Sunday scaries? Yes, they are valid – but you know what else is? A Sunday full of self-love. A lazy Sunday spent doing what you feel needs to be done to ease into the next week. Self-Love Sundays are a guilty pleasure that isn't only essential for our mind, and body, but are also a surprisingly proactive way to devote the upcoming week with a clear mindset.

So, what is a more suitable way to dedicate your week's end than a beautifully, connected playlist to accompany your face masks and journaling? Cheers, to a Self-Love Sunday (and a playlist intertwined with it to match). (Please note: "Sunday Morning" isn't included in this list, due to the obvious, but feel free to blast it anyway, we know you want to).

Keep Reading... Show less
Sunset Girl

The sun rose and peeked through the sheer curtains. Rose’s alarm shrieked. The loud bells caused her phone to jump on the side table. It was time for her to get ready for church. Blindly reaching for her phone, she shut the alarm off and pulled at the covers providing her a cocoon of warmth and tossed them to the side. She swept her bare feet across the bed to touch the cool wooden floor.

Rose softly tiptoed to the corner of the bedroom to grab her clothes dangling on the arm of the bedroom chair. Scooping all of the items of her chosen outfit, she headed to the bathroom hoping that she wouldn’t drop anything.

Round, piercing blue eyes stared back at her in the bathroom mirror. Rose fingered the wrinkles forming around her eyes. So many of them bore signs of laughter and smiling. Slowly dropping her hands, she couldn’t remember the last time she laughed in her home with Tom. Shaking her head as if to erase the negative thoughts, she reached for her makeup bag and went through her regular routine.

Applying her favorite deep rose lipstick, Rose headed downstairs to make her coffee and bagel to take with her to church. The smell of dark-roast coffee swirled in the air as Rose sliced her cinnamon raisin bagel. Hearing the Keurig sputter with the fresh brew, Rose found the interruption of the stillness comforting. The toaster signaled that her bagel was done with a soft pop. It had a delicious golden brown color. Placing the bagel on the counter, she generously spread honey nut flavored cream cheese across both halves. Gathering her bible, notebook, and pens from the side table on the porch she stuffed them into her purse. Purse hanging on her right shoulder she juggled her coffee and bagel in both of her hands as she headed to the garage.

Keep Reading... Show less
Environment

This Holiday Season, Choose To Be Eco-friendly And Reduce Pollution

Many of us have old magazines lying around, fully read and not of much use anymore. However, we can use their bright colors and prints as a stylish and trendy wrapping paper!

857
Presents

It can be overwhelming to see the detrimental effects of climate change and pollution on the news, from animals dying and forest fires spreading, but there are smaller changes that we can all make to reduce our carbon footprint, and it begins with our gifting season.

On average, Americans throw 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Years, which translates to 25 million tons of garbage. That's 1 million extra tons per week.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

This Feeling Hurts

A Poem on Love

2388
Ronny Salerno

This feeling hurts. I must declare

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

10 Holiday Drinks to Spice Up this December's Movie Binge

After all, isn't it the season of drinking...?

5177
10 Holiday Drinks to Spice Up this December's Movie Binge
https://unsplash.com/photos/d-SeLxF_QF0

Thanksgiving has officially ended which means we are in preparation for the final holidays of the year. December is a busy month, filled with shopping and sales, wrapping gifts, planning family gathering and parties, cooking and baking, holiday movies, and of course, lots of drinking. I know that I will be spending a lot of December watching the ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas,

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments