The Raptors may be 53 games into the 82-game schedule, but it feels like they are just getting started.
For the next four days, the team will disengage as the league shifts focus to celebrate the best of the best at the all-star game. Only Terrence Ross will be there and his participation will be limited to the dunk contest.
The rest of the team will have the time, if they so choose, to look back on a year that has already been three seasons in one.
The first portion was the imminently forgettable 4-19 mark to start the year. Burdened by the schedule maker with 15 of their first 23 games on the road, the Raptors struggled to even find a semblance of the team they were a year ago, not to mention an iota of consistency.
The team had forged a defensive identity under head coach Dwane Casey in his rookie year, and felt confident this season they could maintain that while also becoming a more rounded offensive team.
It was a mistake. With new faces being worked into the mix and the aforementioned road-heavy start to the season, the 4-19 mark was almost predictable, given all the change that went on.
But the Raptors changed again, this time reverting back to its 2011-12 roots, at least in terms of manpower.
With Kyle Lowry and Andrea Bargnani injured, Casey put the team back in the hands of the likes of Jose Calderon, Amir Johnson, Ed Davis and Alan Anderson, four mainstays of the previous season, and was rewarded with a 12-10 mark.
The third season, though, is already underway for the Raptors, the one with Rudy Gay at the forefront, Calderon in Detroit and Davis in Memphis.
The deal that Bryan Colangelo and his staff pulled off to bring Gay to Toronto gives Toronto its first real all-star since Chris Bosh jumped ship to become the third wheel in the Big Three of Miami. Once again, the outlook has changed.
Playoffs a long shot for Raptors, but possible
Toronto Sun | Feb 15