Toronto Raptors History
The Toronto Raptors is a fairly new team, compared with most of the other teams that began with the creation of the NBA. This team played its first game in 1995, and it had joined the NBA since 1993 as part of an expansion into Canada. They used to be one of the two teams in the NBA to be located outside the United States, along with rivals the Vancouver Grizzlies. However, the Grizzlies relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, which made the Raptors the only Canadian team in the NBA as of 2001. It took some time before an actual team mascot was decided on. They tried to revive the Huskies mascot from their predecessor, the Toronto Huskies, but it conflicted too much with the Minnesota Timberwolves mascot. Being a new franchise always comes with its problems. They hit a slump early on, ending a few seasons with low records. They did become prosperous after a while, but it was short lived. With the departure of Vince Carter, they were still winning games, but not enough to get a spot in the playoffs. They have won 1 division title, but still have yet to win a championship title.
Toronto Raptors Game Changers
Early on, they managed to acquire Vince Carter. He was a very big stepping stone for this young franchise, as they had no experience and lacked a strong leader on the court. During his stay, Carter managed to get the Raptors to three consecutive playoffs. When Carter was traded from the Raptors, fans and owners realized how much he had influenced.
When Carter was no longer the face of the Raptors, they acquired another great basketball player, Chris Bosh. He played from 2004 until his departure to the Miami Heat in 2010. He had become the star player for the Raptors.
It would seem the Raptors have a flare for drafting young, international players. They drafted Andrea Bargnani from Benetton Treviso, an Italian basketball team, as their first round pick in 2006. He has become the center of the Toronto’s offense since Bosh left.
A very new player, also the Raptors first round draft pick, is Jonas Valančiūnas. He is a Lithuanian player, with plenty of experience both playing and winning for his country. He has gotten three gold medals at FIBA championships, and the coaching staff is hoping he will use this same skill for the Raptors.
Toronto Raptors Arena
When the Raptors started playing in the NBA, they used the SkyDome until 1999. They moved over to the Air Canada Centre that year and have been playing there ever since.
Toronto Raptors Owners
The Raptors are owned by a big Canadian conglomerate, the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. It can’t get any more Canadian than that.
Toronto Raptors Coaching
Their current head coach is Dwane Casey. He has been coaching, and assistant coaching, for various team since 1994. Some of the teams include the Seattle SuperSonics and the Minnesota Timberwolves. He has been Toronto’s head coach for only a short time since he was signed on in 2011.
Betting on the Toronto Raptors
The Raptors haven’t been doing so well since Chris Bosh left for the Miami Heat, but they do have the potential to win. Toronto has a knack of drafting and acquiring international players onto their team, which could be a strong point in their favor. There have been many international players in the NBA, and most of them shine when given the chance. The Raptors have two key players; Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon, along with a rookie that could help cement a good trio, Jonas Valančiūnas. Last season they had a record of 23-43, which isn’t as bad as other teams in their division, but they could still be better. As the team stands now, they have little to no chance at become championship title contenders, let alone get to the playoffs. Teams much weaker than them have been able to surprise, so they could still make it if their use the full potential their team has.