Here's why the Toronto Raptors show no signs of slowing down despite setbacks
The Toronto Raptors have played against all odds since the start of this year's regular season. Post the offseason, the team was heavily criticized for failing to hold on to their key players and their inability to replace those losses.
After Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green departed from the team, not only Kyle Lowry but also Serge Ibaka was forced to sit out. That has been no excuse for the Raptors however, as they have continued to win this season, including a game against the Western Conference leaders, the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Raptors have continued with their dominant displays against most teams as they currently stand fourth in the Eastern Conference. Although this might just seem to be a piece of good luck, it is a situation that the team foresaw which enables them to deal with it tactfully. Here is why it is becoming so hard for teams to halt the rampage of the Raptors.
Masai Ujiri and Nick Nurse make a deadly pair
The players in the team are what everybody gets to see but these two gentlemen are not to be left out. They can be largely be credited with the Raptors' success in recent days. Although it is often argued that Ujiri did not do well in the 2019 offseason as both Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard left the team, he did a good job in retaining the other assets.
Nick Nurse, on track to become to win this year's coach of the year award, has been weaving his magic around this team he is all too familiar with. In the absence of Lowry and Ibaka, he has not relied too heavily on the new additions to the team but has instead given OG Anunoby and Norman Powell a place in the starting lineup.
The Raptors have one of the best locker rooms in the NBA
The best locker room does not mean the one that looks the best. No, the players are truly what make it what it is. Each member of the Raptors squad may not be a good player, but boy are they good teammates. After the Raptors won their first-ever championship the trust between the players has only increased.
Not only do they understand where exactly to find their teammates, but they are unafraid of passing the ball even if it means giving up on personal stats. The Raptors also have the right balance between veterans and younger players, which gives them the versatility that few other NBA teams possess.
The players are quick to better their game
A fundamental reason as to why a team like Toronto is hard to predict even after major names are absent from the squad is the alarming ferocity with which other players step up their game. Last year's Most Improved Player, Pascal Siakam is doing a fine job of displaying why he deserved it, making it look as though Kawhi never left. Fred Vanvleet is also no less doing his bit like Toronto's second-highest scorer. Guys like Norman Powell, OG Annunoby are doing well in the starting lineup. Most of the bench players last season have been developed into potential stars for the team. Newcomers Terrence Davis and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are also putting up valuable numbers from the team.
With 10 wins and only 4 losses, the Raptors are doing well holding their fortress. This should also give them a newfound inspiration to only do better when Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka are back. At the current rate, they seem to be on track for a place in the playoffs where of course a new set of problems will arise (mainly with a guy called LeBron), but there is ample time for that and the defending champions should continue to win games and keep their current margins while doing so.