2) The toughest schedule of all 22 teams
We don’t agree with the claim among some fans that the schedule has been fixed to favour certain teams over others. This theory was possibly in part because of previous speculation that teams would just continue their original 2019-20 schedule, missing out anyone who was not participating in Orlando.
However, there were issues with this plan, specifically when the NBA needed to make sure all 22 returning teams got to eight seeding games. Regardless, this doesn’t change the reality that the Raptors effectively have the toughest schedule of all those who are returning to action.
As well as the Lakers, the Raptors will also face the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies. They will then close out their seeding games schedule by facing the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets.
No matter how you break it down, it’s a brutal schedule. Only the Raptors and Houston Rockets will have to face both the Lakers and Bucks, who had the two best records in the league when the season was suspended in March.
Overall, six of the Raptors’ eight games will be against teams with 39 or more wins. The team will be relying more than ever on their much heralded work ethic, discipline, camaraderie and dominating defence.
For what it’s worth, if the NBA had been able to go with the aforementioned plan about continuing the original 2019-20 schedule for each team, the Raptors still would have been in for a tough stretch. They would have still faced the Lakers, Celtics, 76ers, Nuggets, Bucks and Grizzlies, with additional games against Milwaukee and Memphis.