The Toronto Raptors season came to an unfortunate end following their Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics but they refused to go down without a fight.
Taking some time to soak in the disappointing end to the Toronto Raptors season, it can’t be overlooked how much of a fight they put up.
This time around, the Raptors weren’t being overlooked going into Game 7 and there was some confidence because of their experience. Unfortunately, the team failed to overcome the struggles that put them in tough situations in this series.
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The Boston Celtics certainly deserve credit for the way they played in this series especially Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as they made the big plays when it mattered. Unfortunately, Toronto didn’t get enough of that and unfortunately, Pascal Siakam is taking a lot of blame for how this series played out.
It is no secret that if Siakam was playing better, the Raptors’ chances to win this series would have been far greater. Here is the thing, Siakam was in a tough position considering the pressure on him to essentially play the role of Kawhi Leonard who won am NBA Finals MVP with a dominant playoff performance for the ages.
Losing Leonard was supposed to be a devastating turn of events for the Raptors but they still managed to put up a stronger season without him. Nick Nurse certainly had a big part in that but so did Siakam, it just seems he lost his way when the NBA play resumed in the bubble.
The Raptors were able to overcome that because the team’s identity throughout the season wasn’t defined by the success or failure of one player. Sure, Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell and OG Anunoby were heroes when called upon but they didn’t do it by themself.
In an NBA where stars run the league, Toronto was trying to prove they could overcome the loss of their star and they almost did. They are a team without a lottery pick on their roster and yet they never made it easy against the Celtics who have their fair share.
There will be many questions facing the Raptors this off-season and it will be important to lock in the important foundational pieces of the franchise starting with Masai Ujiri and Nick Nurse. Making sure they are around for the long haul ensures the Raptors can remain a competitive group, but it won’t be easy.
Marc Gasol, Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka highlight the important components of the championship calibre team that will be looking for new deals. Bringing them back has its challenges especially when the team will likely need to make some additions to beat a team like Boston that has a core that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s name will be an intriguing one considering all the talks about his future with the Milwaukee Bucks. Ujiri will likely have him in mind just like he did with Leonard, but he will have to look at other options too.
This isn’t a team that should see its championship aspirations end considering how long it took them to get there. They have the mix of youth in Siakam and Anuonby to compliment the quality leadership Lowry brings on and off the court but once again, they need another piece to give them over the hump.
Toronto should be proud of what this team accomplished despite the challenges of COVID-19 and given the unpredictable nature of the NBA, this team has the chance to take the league by storm once again.
What are your thoughts with the Raptors season coming to an end? What do you think they should do next? Let us know in the comments below.