The Eastern Conference has seen huge changes made this past offseason. Teams such as the Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks took steps back in order to rebuild and get rid of bad contracts, respectively.
Other teams such as the Brooklyn Nets took strides forward by making the team better for the present and the future.
So where do the Toronto Raptors fit in this mix? The Raptors are one of the teams that improved this offseason. Easily one of the more active teams, the Raptors added Kyle Lowry, Landry Fields, John Lucas III and they have big man Jonas Valanciunas coming from Europe.
The Raptors are one of the younger teams in the NBA, with an average age of around 24. The oldest player and the only player over the age of 30 is Jose Calderon, who might not even be on the team by the end of the season.
Being one of the younger teams in the league does have its disadvantages though. One thing this team lacks is experience. Other than Calderon, there are not many players on the team that can take on the role of a leader consistently.
Putting the leadership role on the shoulders of players such as Andrea Bargnani and Demar DeRozan is a burden for them, and they already have heavy enough expectations put on by the fans.
Any championship team has had a great big man help them to their rise. Last year, the Miami Heat had LeBron James and Chris Bosh playing in the post. The year before, the Dallas Mavericks had future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki and had a solid defensive presence in Tyson Chandler.
While the Toronto Raptors are not anywhere close to a championship right now, they do have a chance to be a playoff team in the years to come.
This season the playoffs would be passing expectations, and they do have a chance to be in a battle for the last few seeds with a team such as the Atlanta Hawks.
The Raptors definitely have the talent to be a playoff team, but whether or not they can make the playoffs this season is still in question.
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