At 46-18, the defending champion Toronto Raptors will head to Orlando with the third-best record in the league. However, the Raptors aren’t considered to be on the level of title favorites like the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Los Angeles Clippers.
Raptors All-Star Pascal Siakam, frankly, doesn’t seem too concerned about the perceived lack of respect:
“To be simple and truthful, I just don’t care what people think of the Raptors,” Siakam expressed to the Toronto Star. “I think, for us, it’s been a lot of years caring about, ‘Oh, love me too,’ and I think that’s over, man. We are the champions and if you don’t see it, that’s your problem.
“And for us, it’s about us, we’re not worried what other people think, we’re gonna continue to win games and chase championships. That’s the only thing we care about and whoever feels the way they feel, that’s them and has nothing to do with us. We don’t care about perception.”
Teams will play eight “seeding” games each before starting postseason play, with the possibility of play-in games for the final playoff spots. The Raptors — finally healthy after a season of nagging injuries across the board — could be built to thrive in unprecedented circumstances, considering their experience, proven adaptability, and familiarity with each other.
Siakam understands this:
“I feel like there’s chemistry there, we’ve been playing for awhile, we’ve been winning championships together, things you don’t really forget.”
The 2018-19 Most Improved Player was named to his first All-Star Game in February, averaging 23.6 points and 7.5 rebounds while bringing elite defense,.