Let’s take a trip together, shall we? Picture, it’s 2009. The NBA Draft is finally here, and the Toronto Raptors have the ninth pick. They come to the podium and announce that they are taking the Guard out of the University of Southern California. From Compton to the beautiful inland’s of Canada, who knew that this Shooting Guard would one day help the Raptors compete for a championship.
Fast forward to 2015, where the Raptors made the playoffs and lost in the first round. Clean sweep from the Washington Wizards and rising star Point Guard John Wall. Move to 2016 and you will see that the Raptors started to have some success, beating an Indiana Pacers team that had Paul George and a young Myles Turner in seven games. They then let an aged Miami Heat team led by future Hall of Famer Dwayne Wade, again in seven games.
Then, it all started. Ya see, DeMar is a fantastic player and was a leader on the Raptors for many years seeing that he had been with the franchise for the better part of a decade. He then ran into a man that some call a King, but let’s stick with LeBron James. They lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the ascending Cleveland Cavaliers with young Kyrie Irving at LBJ’s hip, 4 -2.
The next year, the Toronto Raptors got better. DeRozen started to advance as a player, and the Toronto Raptors started to look like an actual threat to LeBron and his Finals streak. Finishing third in the East, many believed that the Raptors we’re about to take the next step and I was one of them. They handled the Milwaukee Bucks in six games, and then headed onto a battle tested Cavs. However, they didn’t play the part of a threat. A clean sweep would see LeBron move on yet again to the NBA Finals after handling the Tics.
Finally, bring us too 2018. Kyrie looked to move into his own role as a star player for the Boston Celtics, and they had the newly signed Gordon Hayward. It all looked as if LeBron would not be a factor in the East, and Toronto and Boston looked poised to battle for a spot in the dance. Gordon and Kyrie got hurt, and the Celtics looked like a non-factor any more.
Nothing could be better for Toronto. First place in the East, they took some extra time with the Wizards but beat them handily in six games. After watching the Cavs take all seven games against the Indiana Pacers, nobody believed they we’re ready for DeMar and his new squad.
This should be the end of the movie, where the “Good Guys” win. Instead, the world stood in awe as Cleveland didn’t just beat, but Demaralized (See what I did there?) the Toronto Raptors in a clean sweep. The Raptors and their voodoo working GM, knew it was time for a change.
Fast forward to June 2018, and the Toronto Raptors started to formulate their plan. Kawhi Leonard would be the piece that they believed would start to change the foundation of the Jurassic Park, and he was. Move forward a little bit further to now, where the Raps have a 2-1 lead on the hurt reigning champs.
All of this, thanks to DeMar DeRozen who stated publicly that he was the sacrifice for the Raptors. I disagree. The Raptors should be thankful for DeMar. Thankful that they took him with the ninth pick.
Thankful for the nine years that he increased as a player.
Thankful that he built himself into one of the best two guards in the league.
But, most importantly, the Toronto Raptors should be thankful that he just wasn’t good enough to get them over the hump. That he couldn’t seem to do what Kawhi did and unlock Kyle Lowry’s playoff potential. They may have lucked up and got one of the best players in the league for quite some time, and if they dethrone the Warriors, he might just stay.
Thankful once more, that they could not win, let alone make the Finals with DeRozen.