Get to Know the Toronto Raptors
Because the Knicks have been so bad for so long, many New Yorkers are now beginning to wear the embarrassment of rooting for the Brooklyn Nets more comfortably than they ever knew they could. Eased by a tenuous connection to Jay Z, and the fact that they're now coached by arguably the greatest philanderer in NBA history (we worship our cheaters here), the Nets won some fans with a hard-fought first round playoff loss in seven games to the Chicago Bulls in 2012/13. Deron Williams and his merry band of washed-up Celtics are poised to go deeper into the playoffs this year, as their first round opponent is a team even the most ardent fans of basketball have never even heard of: the Toronto Raptors.
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Named after the most clever, dangerous, and deadly (it could open doors!) creature in Steven Spielberg's '93 smash Jurassic Park the Raptors were founded in 1995 by a 13-year-old boy going through a big dino phase. Not long after, they gained a reputation as the Go-To Team for people who liked to have their high expectations dashed during a period in the franchise's short history known as "The Vince Carter Era." They've since fallen well off the radar and are just now resurfacing with a roster of scrappy, young talent. The Raptors and Nets bring their first round series, currently tied 1 - 1, to Brooklyn tonight. And since the chances are high you know nothing about the Raptors' players, we thought it might be a good time to introduce you.
Drake Position: POINT GUARD Last School: Degrassi An emotional player, Drake (aka Drizzy aka The Light Skint Keith Sweat) is as happy to distribute the ball to an open teammate as he is to take his own shot. He's got a mean crossover, and is perhaps the most well-conditioned player in the NBA, which he attributes simply to walking the grounds of his ridiculously giant "YOLO Estate" end to end every day. When the fourth quarter comes around and other players are showing fatigue, is when Drake seems to be at his freshest.
Drake Position: POWER FORWARD Last School: The Bottom Winner of many trophies, Drake's only weakness as a Power Forward is a seeming inability toget dirty, even while on his worst behavior (remember?)(Sorry.) His unwillingness to dive for loose balls or box out for rebounds has earned him (perhaps undeservedly) the reputation as one of the softest players in the game.
Rob Ford Position: CENTER Last School: Hard Knocks Though frequently maligned for the substance abuse issues he's had in the past (and present and future), there's no denying multi-sport phenom Rob Ford has found his rightful place as the anchor of the Raptors. His presence in the paint is impossible to ignore, and many a team on many a night has felt too sorry for "The Round Mound of Round Mounds" to challenge him, making him one of the leading defenders in the league by default. Still, there's no quit in Rob Ford, even when there totally should be. Though he may never be considered one of the great Centers of the game alongside Hakeem Olajuwon or Patrick Ewing, he's the only player in the NBA who can match Kevin Garnett's inappropriate discussion of a woman's private parts on the court.
Drake Position: SMALL FORWARD Last School: U Mad Unafraid to speak his mind, Drake (aka Aubrey aka Wheelchair Jimmy) recently gave Brooklyn some bulletin board material when he said that one-time (1/15th of 1%) Nets owner Jay Z was "somewhere eating a fondue plate" in an attempt to add a bit of class tension to the first round series. Stockier and more muscular than the average three, he possesses the long-range accuracy of a Kevin Durant, and can slash to the hoop like Carmelo Anthony, which is pretty impressive for a guy who sweats white Zinfandel.
An Order of Poutine Position: SHOOTING GUARD College: It's a pile of fries topped with gravy and cheese curds Named to the team after the author of this post decided not to force another blurb about Drake, poutine is, presumably, Rob Ford's favorite food. Here's a list of the places in Toronto he probably eats it.
James Goldstein HEAD COACH Described by many as the NBA's biggest superfan despite the fact that he always wears the same stone-faced expression while watching the sport (like in this pic here, during The Shot that ultimately decided last year's Finals), the Raptors hired Goldstein as their head coach after becoming covetous of his baller mansion in LA, which they first saw in the 2 Chainz video " Feds Watching ." It also didn't hurt that Goldstein was the only one who answered "Yes" to the question, "Could you watch this team play for 82 games a season?" His enthusiasm for the sport and for this team has been contagious, and though an early promise to change the team uniforms to head-to-toe alligator-skin suits and a neckerchief seemed an ominous misstep out of the gate, he's clearly found a way to lead these three Drakes, Rob Ford, and a plate of fries that works.
Brian McManus is an NBA historian. Follow him on Twitter @mcguilloteen. Top 10 Douchiest Guitarists of All Time The 10 Douchiest Drummers of All Time> The Top 15 Things That Annoy the Crap Out of Your Local Sound Guy
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