Toronto Raptors. In it to Win it?

By: Dave Ferensowicz is an avid basketball enthusiast and a student at Humber College.

Are the Toronto Raptors prepared and ready to win an NBA Championship? The reward for all those hours spent sweating in the gym. The most prized possession of every NBA team. The goal to end all goals. A feat only 18 teams have accomplished in the NBA’s 68-year history. And a feat that the Raptors haven’t even been close to accomplishing, as they have yet to even get past the second round of the playoffs, let alone make it to the NBA Finals.

Without a fan base to watch an exciting team, motivation will lack. However, that’s one aspect of a Championship caliber team that the Raptors’ organization has never had a problem of accomplishing. Last season, the Raptors ranked 5th overall in overall attendance with an average 19,738 fans attending each game.

WeTheNorth

Marketing

#WeTheNorth

If you live in Canada and haven’t been living under a rock for the past two seasons, you know exactly where I’m going with this. But just in case that rock is cozy, I will tell you why this sports marketing campaign has been so successful for the Toronto Raptors.

In a country where the only other team in the playoffs last year was the Montreal Canadiens, the people of the north needed something to get excited about. Nobody expected the Toronto Raptors to reach the level of success they did last year, but when they did, the whole country was behind them. And a first round playoff exit wouldn’t stop the movement either.

#WeTheNorth is now printed everywhere across the country, from sports caps and hoodies, to billboards. The campaign’s success has had little to do with basketball and far more to do with Canadians showing support for their country. Now, with the Raptors sitting second overall in the Easter Conference, the passion and connection to the hashtag is as strong as ever. Just take a look at their home game attendance statistics, averaging a strong 19,731 fans per game and sitting pretty ranking fifth amongst the rest of the league.

Chemistry

Why were the Raptors so successful last season? A lot had to do with the chemistry that the players have with one another.

Let’s just quote the Toronto Raptor’s All-Star point guard, Kyle Lowry for a sec:

“It’s a team where it doesn’t matter who is most successful. Everybody wants to wins games.”

 Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets - Game Four

 This strategy has made the Raptors one of the most feared offensive teams in the league. Toronto sits comfortably ranked top five in offensive efficiency. http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/teamstats It simply doesn’t matter which player is putting up points on the board on a given night, and the record proves it.

This type of chemistry is almost impossible to re-create and the Raptor’s President and General Manager, Masai Ujiri, agreed. He did what any other logical GM would do; he brought back the same squad from last season and added some more firepower. If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. Just add some defense, specifically in the form of James Johnson, the Raptors’ top defensive player, and perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to add a sixth man of the year nominee, Louis Williams, fresh off a knee surgery to repair a torn ACL. The risk paid off as both players that have fit seamlessly on the court, and more importantly, in the locker room.

You won’t always have the best talent on the court, but if the chemistry between the players is right, you will win games with ease and you will have fun doing it. Just take a look at the Raptors’ roster; the team only has one all-star yet, is still winning games against arguably some of the most talented and star-studded teams in the league.

In It To WIN IT ALL

Toronto Raptors vs Golden State Warriors

The Raptors have finally found the formula for success. With a country behind them 100% and chemistry at an all time high, why not now? What are factors are stopping a determined team from bringing the Championship trophy up north this June?

#FearTheNorth

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