The Toronto Raptors have made the playoffs in eight of the last nine seasons. The only aberration was their injury-riddled 2020-21 season, wherein they only won 27 games. But they bounced back with another postseason appearance last year.
With their core intact and head coach Nick Nurse still leading the way, the Raptors should have no problems making the playoffs in 2022-23, barring any significant injury, and would be worth backing to do so if you’re a fan of betting on the NBA. However, it isn’t easy to see them going beyond the Eastern Conference Semifinals, given the firepower of those top teams.
The Raptors reclaimed their spot as a playoff contender after winning 48 games last season. However, in six games, they bowed out in the first round of the 2021-22 playoffs to the Philadelphia 76ers. There’s no reason to believe that the Raptors won’t have a winning record after the 2022-23 regular season.
Winning at least 50 games might be a stretch because they haven’t done much to improve the roster. Still, it’s good to see them competing at a high level three years after their championship season. Aside from having a talented group of players, Nurse has proven he can get the most out of his squad.
The Raptors were one of the two Canadian teams that entered the league in 1995. But since the 2001-02 season, they have been the only representative up north when the Vancouver Grizzlies relocated to Memphis, Tennessee.
Their first playoff appearance came in the 1999-2000 season, but they lost to the New York Knicks in three games. The franchise also captured its first championship after defeating the Golden State Warriors in six games during the 2019 NBA Finals.
The Raptors play their home games at the Scotiabank Arena. It’s still the stadium known as the Air Canada Centre from 1999 to 2018. It has a seating capacity of 19,800 during Raptors home games and can accommodate up to 20,511 attendees with standing room. Given that they are the only NBA team in Canada, their sold-out crowds provide unparalleled home court advantage. Creating noise to energize their squad isn’t a problem.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were the nemesis of the Raptors, after the Canadian team lost three straight playoff series from 2016 to 2018. However, their best rivalries are against the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers. Toronto has a 1-2 playoff series record against the 76ers, with their lone victory happening during their championship season. That series went the distance and will be remembered for Kawhi Leonard’s lucky bounce from the baseline. Meanwhile, the Raptors finally defeated the Nets during the 2019-20 playoffs after two previous tries.
Three players from their championship roster remain steady contributors for the Raptors. Pascal Siakam led the way with 22.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Meanwhile, Fred VanVleet contributed 20.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and 1.7 steals per game last season. OG Anunoby is also a steady presence that chipped in 17.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game.
The Raptors also have another scorer in Gary Trent Jr., who averaged 18.3 points and 1.7 steals per contest. They also had a great find in Scottie Barnes, who won last year’s Rookie of the Year honors after registering 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. Toronto also added Otto Porter Jr., who won a championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2021-22. Precious Achiuwa and Chris Boucher provide rebounding and energy off the bench.