To be clear, VanVleet was kidding and doesn’t want to be taken out of context, but it’s an apt description of what’s been a reluctant transition year for the Raptors organization.
“It was a joke….I’m sure you guys will make a meme or that quote will be on someone’s Instagram page or some shit like that,” VanVleet clarified.
After winning it all in 2019 and falling to the Boston Celtics in an excruciatingly close seven-game second-round series in 2020, the Raptors have taken a step back in 2021. Of course, there’s some room to account for this year’s middling results as the team was displaced from their Toronto home due to travel restrictions regarding COVID-19, playing out of Tampa, Florida, and the loss of both Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol in free agency, has depleted its frontcourt strength almost entirely.
Toronto slumped to a 1-6 record to start the season, and were mired in a nine-game losing streak in March, going 1-13 for the month. The highs have been few and far between — VanVleet’s 54 point game against the Orlando Magic on Feb. 2 may be the highlight of the 2021 Raptors season — but even amid a year that could be described as the worst-case scenario, the Raptors also have been far from the worst team in the league.
VanVleet’s comments could be read uncharitably, so again, we’ll once again state that he was clearly kidding, but the best jokes have an element of truth to them, and Toronto’s maddening highs and lows seem to be best encapsulated in this comment.
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