Toronto Raptors, we the north


25 years ago, the emotions of NBA they returned to embrace the city of Toronto 50 years after the short sad story of the Toronto Huskies. Together with the laurelsin Vancouver Grizzlies, the reigning champions represented a league expansion franchise. The general manager was a certain Isiah Thomas. THE Raptors they never looked back. Have become symbol of a Canada, which has always been in the shadow of the Greater United States of America. A year ago they caught up the maximum splendor of their history, of which we have reconstructed the main stages.

Toronto Raptors, the Carter effect and the arrival of Bosh

The first years of this new franchise were a real transition. 4 years of negative records and uncompetitive roster. Then, however, in 1998, with the fifth absolute choice, an interesting boy was presented in Canada, who had already stood out for his great athletic skills in North Carolina. His name is Vince Carter, chosen after Mike Bibby, but before Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce … A little less than 20 years later a docu-film entitled The Carter Effect will be released, so to speak. The first season is conditioned by the lockout, but already a year after the talent from Daytona Beach, supported by Tracy McGgrady (Carter’s third cousin), Charles Oakley and Sean Marks on all driving with 25 abundant media the Raptors in the first playoffs of their history. It will be 3 consecutive years of post season, where however Toronto never manages to go beyond the second round.
Vince Carter will greet the team with which he won the rookie prize of the year and a historic dunk race in 2004.
Fortunately, a year earlier, in the 2003 draft, probably the most important in the history of the league, Chris Bosh was chosen at number 4, who collects the legacy of go to guy. It will be other unforgettable years in Ontario. In fact, the two-time NBA champion with Miami will bring the franchise to the playoffs only on two occasions, from 2006 to 2008, always going out in the first round.

Chris Bosh in the rookie year, along with Vince Carter and play Rafer Alston
(photo credits: Reddit)

Toronto Raptors, the years of contention

To consider the northern team of the NBA a contender, we have to go on until recently. From 2013 onwards, Toronto will always reach the playoffs. The first few years the team is led by Demar Derozan, Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry above all, with a Jonas Valanciunas fledgling in the US, but already decisive. From 2015 to 2018 the only obstacle that separates Toronto from history is Lebron James. Indeed i Cleveland Cavaliers break the Canadians’ dreams for three years, first to the Conference Finals and then to the Semifinals. DeRozan he is undoubtedly the franchise man, but paradoxically it will be his farewell to change the history of the Raptors for the better. He will be involved in the trade he brings Kawhi Leonard in Canada and in some way will contribute to the entry into the history of his former team.

Kawhi and the appointment with history

There is a subtle difference between those who become legend and those who are forgotten. The NBA has taught us how a landscape can be as wonderful as it is cruel. Because at the end of the day, only those who have won appear in the history books.
The Toronto example is more significant than ever. Kawhi will only play a year in Canada, but will bring an historic, unforgettable ring to a franchise with less than 25 years of existence. Kawhi looks just like the man of fate. He is the one who sends home i 76ers, in one of the most beautiful Conference Semifinals ever, with one of the most iconic buzzer beaters in recent years. It is he who limits Giannis Antetokoumpo and drive Toronto to the Finals. Obviously the winner will beMVP of the finals.
In this sport you never win alone. The role of the entire supporting cast of the ex Spurs cyborg will be fundamental. From Lowry to Siakam, passing through Ibaka, Green and Van Vleet.
Among all, Pascal, mip of the season, will pull out from the cylinder as sensational as unexpected performances, including 32 in race 1 of the Finals. Toronto later years of dominion Warriors and Lebron, manages to bring home a legendary title, reminding the NBA that we the north it is much more than a country that is afraid of the dark, to name one of the most classic American teasing.

Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard decides race 7 vs 76ers
(photo credits: NBC Sports)

Toronto Raptors, the relationship with the Italians

The franchise born in 1995 has always had a particular feeling with our country. Starting from the first year of their history, which also included their roster Vincenzo Esposito. The current Brescia coach he was the first Italian in history to enter the NBA scoresheet.
The most important year for this Italy-Canada axis is certainly 2006. Maurizio Gherardini takes over the vice presidency of Raptors and directs its deductible to the first absolute choice of the draft: Andrea Bargnani. The magician reached up to 21 on average with the Raptors shirt and took part twice in the post season. Marco Belinelli also passed through Ontario and who knows if the Italian future in the NBA is not there yet.

Toronto Raptors
Andrea Bargnani in Toronto
(photo credits: Raptors HQ)

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