What do you get when you pair a strong candidate for Coach of the Year with a pair of All-Stars, one who is currently enjoying a career season, a bunch of young players anchoring the bench, and a savvy team president? You get the Raptors and the best record in the Eastern Conference with a lot of room to spare.
While the Kyrie Irving-led Boston Celtics and the drama-filled Cleveland Cavaliers roster has filled most of the headlines in the Eastern Conference for most of the season, the Toronto Raptors have enjoyed a season where they're poised to break through the 60-win mark for the first time in franchise history, and it's mostly thanks to DeMar DeRozan.
The 28-year-old Shooting Guard has long been criticized for his throwback game that involves taking plenty of "ineffective" midrange shots. Though he still continues to stick with what has worked for him throughout his career, DeRozan has improved in other areas. He's now a more willing passer and is on pace to break his career high in total assists for a season. He has also been willing to take more 3-point shots, going from 1.7 attempts last season to 3.6 attempts this year. While the shooting percentages have not increased yet, the fact that DeRozan's willing to take threes has done more than enough to help spice up Toronto's offense.
The Toronto Raptors team is currently a top-five team both offensively and defensively. By the looks of it, they certainly are poised to make a deep playoff run. However, all that hinges on whether or not they can make it through either Lebron's Cavaliers or the Boston Celtics. The former is more likely on their minds, as the reigning Eastern Conference champions have been responsible for eliminating the Toronto Raptors from the playoffs for the past two years.