Toronto Raptors: Why They Have Hope for a Playoff Berth

Patrick Yaghoobians@PyaghoobiansAnalyst IIMarch 9, 2012

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)
(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

The Eastern Conference is the weaker of the two conferences. The Toronto Raptors currently hold the eleventh spot in the Eastern Conference, and are just two games behind the ninth-place Bucks and five games behind the New York Knicks, who hold the final playoff spot.

The Toronto Raptors have played exceptionally well since the All-Star break, posting a very nice 3-3 record, which could have been 6-0 just because of how close the three losses were.

Demar DeRozan has been wonderful over the past month, and not counting his awful game against the Memphis Grizzlies, he has been scoring 20+ per game on a nightly basis.

Jose Calderon, who has been the other terrific player for the Raptors, is putting up a very under the radar season. He is very easily the most underrated point guard in the NBA, being in the top five for assists per game and the top player in assist to turnover ratio, which is a very important stat for the floor general position.

The main factor that determines whether or not the Raptors can make the postseason this season is Andrea Bargnani. Bargnani has been having the best season of his career in every aspect. He is averaging 23.5 points and grabbing 6.4 rebounds on a nightly basis. 

Bargnani's rebounding ability has been mocked countless times because he is a seven foot player who is not grabbing eight or more per game, but despite averaging a low amount compared to other big men, Bargnani's hustle and passion for the game have grown.

In games that Andrea Bargnani has been present, the Raptors hold a record of 6-7, which is approximately a 46.2 winning percentage, which is the same as the New York Knicks. 

With Bargnani finally practicing starting today, the Raptors star is ready to make a return soon, and hopefully this time he does not injure his calf again.

With the improved play of the team as a whole, Bargnani's return coming soon, and a fairly easy schedule against other under .500 teams in the next week, the Raptors might increase their record to around 16- 28, which is much better than expected.

If the Raptors make a playoff push, they should go for the playoffs, and when they begin to lose more games than win, they should try to stay down low but not be the laughingstock of the NBA.

Thanks for reading :)