4 Reasons the Toronto Raptors Will Finally Return to the Playoffs in 2012-13

Jeff Langridge@@JeffLangridge1Correspondent IIIAugust 15, 2012

4 Reasons the Toronto Raptors Will Finally Return to the Playoffs in 2012-13

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    Vince Carter led the Toronto Raptors to the playoffs. Chris Bosh led the Toronto Raptors to the playoffs. The current roster of the Toronto Raptors has yet to lead the team to the playoffs.

    That might finally change this year. Enough stars might finally be aligning for the Raptors to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

    Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan, Landry Fields, Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas will form a young core that could be together for a long time. It’s that core that will be leading the Raptors this season, hopefully to a playoff spot.

    Here are four reasons why the Raptors will finally make the playoffs this season.

The Atlantic Division Is Wide Open

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    Even though the Raptors have improved, the biggest factor to them making the playoffs is the other teams in the Atlantic Division.

    The Boston Celtics should still be at the top of the division, but the rest of the division is pretty equal.

    The Brooklyn Nets will definitely improve over their last season in New Jersey, and the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers will not be pushovers, but the Raptors can definitely at least hang with most of the teams in the division.

Young Guns Overachieve

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    No question about it, the Raptors are a young team. In fact, according ESPN, their average age is 24.7.

    The oldest players on the Raptors are Alan Anderson, 29, John Lucas III, 29, and Jose Calderon, 30, with the closest player in age to them being Andrea Bargnani at 26.

    The young players will need to step up for the team to have a shot at making the playoffs.

Andrea Bargnani Shows Why He Was a No. 1 Pick

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    Since Chris Bosh left town, Andrea Bargnani has been the de facto leader of the Raptors.

    For years, there have been questions asked about whether Bargnani should have been the first overall pick in the 2006 draft.

    This year, Bargnani has to put those questions to rest. He has to show, without a doubt, that he was worthy of that selection. If he does, the Raptors are in a very good position.

The Defense Should Improve with Another Year Under Dwane Casey

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    Dwane Casey led his team to overachieve last year. Their defense wasn’t the best, but it was much better than it could have been.

    This year, the Raptors should improve, not only because of their new additions, but also from another year under Casey.