Reasons to be pessimistic:
- It’s the Raptors. Historically, they do not follow through on exhibited promise.
- There isn’t a LeBron/KD/Curry-level superstar on the roster. Most of the time, you need one of those guys to win a title.
- The team lost Bismack Biyombo, an important part of their conference finals run, to free agency this summer.
- Kyle Lowry is a free agent in 2017. If he leaves, the climb towards contention suffers a major setback.
Reasons to be optimistic:
- The Raptors have set franchise records for wins each of the last 3 seasons.
- Jonas Valanciunas is only 24, and under contract for 3 more seasons before he can opt out.
- Masai Ujiri, over his career, has found good players later in the draft with Kenneth Faried, Evan Fournier and Norm Powell. He has an excellent record in trades. While fans are frustrated by his trade deadline inactivity, if there isn’t a good deal out there then standing pat is the right move. Bismack Biyombo is the only free agent in 4 off-seasons the team has lost that there was any real interest in retaining.
- 27-year-old DeMar DeRozan is under contract until age 31.