Since the Toronto Raptors inception, they have been one of the NBA's least successful franchises. Any Raps fans knows that they certainly get the short end of the stick in many situations. Dwayne Casey is a great coach, can he finally be the guy to help us string together a couple of playoff appearances?
Anybody living north of the US border knows that it's tough to be a sports fan of any of Canada's teams. It's tough to like the Leafs, and the Raptors are slowly finding themselves in the same group.
The big-time sports leagues run on television contracts and advertising dollars. It's clear that all of the big money stays and plays in the United States. The NHL takes catastrophic ratings hits every single time a Canadian team ends up in the finals.
The NBA would be no different. Actually, it would be much worse. Basketball is huge in the States, and the finals would take a huge ratings plunge if the Raptors ever got there.
No top tier talent wants to play in Toronto. Fans are constantly frustrated when the Raps draft Europeans, but they are the only guys who have a realistic shot of staying in Canada.
This is obvious when Steve Nash, a guy who was born in Canada, wouldn't even sign in Toronto for probably millions more than Phoenix offered.
Players want to stay in their home countries, and almost every NBA star comes from the U.S.
Perhaps an even bigger problem with playing in Toronto is our income tax. Probably not many people know this, but Florida doesn't have state income tax.
People like to think that Lebron, Wade and Bosh wanted to play in Miami to form a super-team, but money was definitely a big factor as well. There are places they could have went, and because of tax cuts, they still would have had less take-home-income.
Back to the Raptors franchise. They have a low salary cap compared to many of the NBA's top teams, and even have to overspend for sub-par players. Time has shown that the only way Toronto can get talent is in the NBA draft.
I was ecstatic when the Raptors hired Dwayne Casey. He has a great resume after winning a championship with the Dallas Mavericks. He was a top candidate for many head coaching jobs, and Toronto was very fortunate to land him.
Is this great hire cursed?
He's in a city that the NBA itself is hoping and praying never even makes it to a conference championship.
The young Raps have a plethora of good talent, but how long will they even be around? DeRozan is our biggest rising star and appears to be a humble worker, but does anybody think he'll stick around when greener pastures start calling?
I hate to play the pessimist, but things are only looking up in Toronto until they are looking down again. I've had a lot of optimism for the Raptors going into the next NBA season, but sometimes people need to accept their own reality.
Will the Toronto Raptors ever be able to prove the masses and the NBA brass wrong and make it to the promised land?