As we sit on the verge of the start of the Eastern Conference Finals do you feel a little more optimistic about the Raptors future? We end up with a final that was not an expected one as Boston slogged their way to the Eastern Conference Final. Facing the Miami Heat who would not be stopped by Chris Bosh injury or Indiana Pacers. The team everyone expected to face the Heat was the Bulls who had a injury of their own to deal with. Derrick Rose the former M.V.P might not even be back in time for next season. In fact he likely won't be. The Bulls without him were not able to handle the Sixers who are not exactly a juggernaut in terms of an opponent. Boston limped there way through a seven game series to finally finish them off. Honestly though the Sixers are offensively challenged at best. The Hawks did their typical chocking in the first round. The New York Knicks had nothing for the Miami Heat and are in need of a good off-season to scare anyone. Problem in that is Amare and Carmello are making most of the money and have still yet to find a way to be good together. Orlando fired a good coach and lousy G.M and Superman still likely wants out of town.
The point of all of this is beyond the Miami Heat is there any team in the Eastern Conference that really scares you. The Bulls if Rose is back and playing at the same level would. After that it really is wide open for the most part. The Pacers are a good team but they are far from world beaters as the Heat at less than 100% proved. Boston will be a year older and not that much better. Although they will get Jeff Green back potentially who they acquired in the Kendrick Perkins trade last season. He say out the entire season with heart condition. If you are a non playoff team in the East you should feel like you have some hope unless you are the Charlotte Bobcats.
If you are the Raptors, with a lottery pick to come and your first round pick from last season making his debut in Jonas Valancuinas, also some cap space to play with to add some more pieces you have to feel even better right? While this past season was only marginally better in terms of record for the Raptors it was a success in terms of culture change. The Raptors actually can play some defense. Casey even refers to it as playoff style defense in terms of it's effort and intensity. That might be a stretch but it still does prepare the Raptors nicely for the grind it out painful to watch at times Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Bryan Colangelo still has to make the right moves and some luck of any kind in the draft lottery on Wednesday would be welcomed. Which by the way we encourage you to join us for our Lottery Chat on Wednesday Night here on the website. If Colangelo can make a few skillful trades and make a splash in free agency who is to say the Raptors can't be a playoff team. While the Raptors are a long way from ever getting out of the Eastern Conference to the NBA Finals. A quick rise to playoffs and even the second round which currently is the franchise best is not out of the question.
Nothing you have seen in the Eastern Conference Playoffs makes you think that the Raptors can not over take most of these teams given the assets they have to play with. It is just a matter of pressing the right buttons. The Division the Raptors call home can be classed as competitive, but the Atlantic is not exactly filled with a dominant contender anymore. Boston despite their appearance in Conference Finals isn't. The Knicks have issues and are on verge of hiring a coach that is good in the regular season and horrible in the playoffs in Mike Woodson. The Sixers do not have any truly scary weapons on offense and Nets be they in New Jersey or Brooklyn remain pretty much a joke and most likely will be losing Deron Williams to Dallas or someone else. It won't be easy but the opportunity is there for the Raptors to rise again as they did when Colangelo first arrived on the team.
It has been a dark couple years since Chris Bosh took his talents to South Beach. However the future or light at the end of the tunnel could be in sight.