The Toronto Raptors undoubtedly have one of the best team cultures in the entire league. People always talk about the ‘Heat Culture’ making the team a desirable location for free agents and developing young players.
However, over the years the Raptors have proved that their program is nothing but amazing. They helped DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry to become the stars they are today. But after investing 9 years in DeRozan, the Raptors traded him for Kawhi Leonard.
This decision worked wonders for them on a short-term basis as they were crowned the 2019 NBA Champions. Even when the fans and the franchise wanted Kawhi to stay, he decided to join the Clippers.
DeMar DeRozan recently made an appearance on the “J.J. Reddick Podcast,” where he talked about what makes the Raptors and Spurs culture unique.
“It was always character guys that met the work ethic. You put those two things together, you definitely gonna have a different type of chemistry and camaraderie when you go out there on the court. Everybody locked in the culture is just completely different on down the line.
“From the front office to the players to the training staff, it’s kind of like everything fits in together. That’s one thing I was able to tell and that’s one thing I was lucky to be able to make that transition too… That’s the best way to find joy in basketball.”
As DeRozan pointed out, playing the game of basketball as a single unit is one of the best feelings out there. The Raptors incorporated this method perfectly into their team. Even with Leonard leaving the roster, the Raptors were just one game away from making the Eastern Conference Semi-finals.
What’s next for the Toronto Raptors?
The Raptors’ playoff run was cut short by the Boston Celtics in the second round of the postseason. Kyle Lowry and the Raptors managed to push them to seven games, but they couldn’t send them home.
One of the biggest reasons for their failure was a poor playoff run of Pascal Siakam. Siakam struggled to find his touch in the entire playoffs as he averaged just 17.0 ppg while knocking only 39.6% of his shots. Moreover he was only an 18.9% three-point shooter during the entire playoffs.
Moving forward, the Toronto Raptors will expect better production from their star. But what do you think? Will the Raptors be a championship contender next season or not?