OK, so this Toronto Raptors season hasn’t gone as you had hoped.
You’re still going to watch Raptors games, I mean, what else is there to do these days, but your rooting interests may have begun to waiver. So let’s take a look at who you can and maybe should be rooting for over the final quarter of the season.
1. Portland Trail Blazers
Remember Norman Powell? Well, the Portland Trail Blazers are 4-0 since adding Powell at last week’s trade deadline. They boast one of the NBA’s best offences and superstar point guard Damian Lillard is always primed to do something astonishing.
Portland is 29-18 this season and has some very exciting games coming up on the schedule against the Utah Jazz, Brooklyn Nets, Phoenix Suns, and L.A. Clippers. If you want to cheer for a former Raptor who could make a major impact on a playoff team this season, the Trail Blazers are certainly your team.
2. Washington Wizards
If you’re more concerned about the future of the Raptors, it might be a good idea to start keeping an eye on the Washington Wizards. Toronto and Washington are currently tied with the sixth-worst record in the NBA but by virtue of having played virtue games this season, the Wizards are ahead of the Raptors in the lottery standings.
If the season ended today the Raptors would have a 32% chance at landing a top-four pick in this year’s draft. If the Wizards, however, win a few games, like their game Thursday night against the Detroit Pistons, they’d jump Toronto, giving the Raptors are 37.2% chance at a top-four pick.
There’s a pretty good chance this actually happens considering the Wizards have the easiest remaining schedule this season, per Tankathon. They have two games remaining against the Pistons and three against the Cleveland Cavaliers this year.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
If you liked that last idea, you might like this one too. The Cavaliers are just 0.5 games worse than the Raptors this season and if Toronto can find a way to lose more games than the Cavaliers the rest of the way Toronto could jump into the top five in lottery odds. That would give the Raptors a 42% chance at a top-four pick and a 44% chance at a top-five pick.
Much like the Wizards, the Cavaliers have the seventh-easiest remaining schedule this year. They have games against the Pistons, Orlando Magic, and the aforementioned Wizards still on the schedule. Considering Toronto has the sixth-hardest remaining schedule this season, it’s quite possible the Raptors jump into that top five.