Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors. What do these three basketball teams all have in common? They are the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference. That’s right, the Toronto Raptors are in third place behind two of the best teams in the NBA. Coincidence? I don’t think so. The Raptors are obviously a team hungry for the playoffs and letting that hunger drive their hard-nosed, team oriented style of basketball.
This year has been somewhat of a breakout year for many of the team’s young bucks. Incredible production from Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valenciunas and Terrence Ross has more than been a factor in the team’s turnaround year. Couple that with the fact that DeMar DeRozan is in the midst of a year where he has established himself as a real leader and star in the NBA, and you have the recipe for success in the East.
In the month of January, Kyle Lowry is averaging 17 points per game along with 8.3 assists and 4.5 boards each night. Valenciunas, the 21 year old from Lithuania, is averaging close to a double-double….every night! This contribution will not go unnoticed as the aforementioned new comers to the league, along with DeRozan are on the NBA ballots for this year’s all star game.
Granted, there is still work to do and they have proven nothing yet. That being said, this Raptors team has been able to hang with the big dogs lately and doesn’t really show signs of backing down. The young Raps look ravenous as they continue their climb towards to post season. This may be the year that the team makes a late season push and takes it deep into the playoffs.