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Quick Toronto Raptors facts:

Founded:                           1995 

Arena:                                Air Canada Center

Division Championships:   6 (2007, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)       

NBA Titles:                         0

Playoffs                              9

Best Record:                      59-23   2017-18

Worst Record:                   16-66   1997-98

 

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    The Founding of the Toronto Raptors Franchise

    The Toronto Raptors are a Canadian professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario. They compete in the National Basketball Association, as members of the Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. The Raptors franchise was founded in 1995 together with the Vancouver Grizzlies, as part of the NBA’s expansion into Canada. The Grizzlies relocated to Memphis, Tennessee in 2001 to become the Memphis Grizzlies leaving the Raptors to be the only Canadian-based team in the NBA.  The Raptors originally played their home games at the SkyDome, presently they play their home games at the Air Canada Centre.  

    Timeline

    In each of their first three seasons in the league, the Raptors finished in last place in their division. It was not until Toronto acquired its first superstar, guard forward Vince Carter in a 1998 draft-day trade. During the 1999-2000 season, Carter, a five-time all-star for Toronto, helped the franchise capture its first play-off berth. The following season, the Raptors again qualified for the postseason and were able to advance to the conference semifinals, a dramatic seven-game loss to the conference champions, the Philadelphia 76ers. After having a successful campaign that came to an end in a first-round postseason elimination in 2001-02, Toronto fell into a four-year stretch of losing seasons. Carter was traded in 2004 to the New Jersey Nets.

    After Carter left the Raptors, the franchise brought in Chris Bosh as their team leader and so they revamp their roster, with a new General Manager, Bryan Coangelo, and the first overall draft pick of Andrea Bargnani. That year the Raptors qualified for their first playoff berth after five years; they won the Atlantic Division title.  Then in the 2007-08 season, the Raptors again advanced to the playoffs, but unfortunately they did not reach the post-season in each of the next five season. In the 2009-10 season, Bosh left the Raptors and joined the Miami Heat in July 2010 and so the team entered another era of rebuilding.

    In 2013, Colangelo was replaced by Masai Ujiri and helped the team to head into a new era of success, led by backcourt duo Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. The Raptors advanced to the playoffs the following year and the team stage a a remarkable turnaround and won the 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    second division title in team history. The following year, the Raptors won another division crown; nevertheless, the team was swept out of the postseason in its opening-round series. In the 2015-16 season, Toronto won 56 games and advanced to the Easter Conference finals making team history, nonetheless, the team was eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Raptors earned a franchise-record with their fourth straight play-off appearance in 2016-17 but again were swept by the Cavaliers in the second-round postseason series. The following season in 2017-18, the Raptors broke another team record with 59 victories and they had the best record in the Eastern Conference for the first time in franchise history. Though, the team failed to go beyond the conference finals so Ujiri fires head Coach Dwane Casey shortly after the playoffs and he conducted a high-profile trade of DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard (a valuable player from the Spurs) and later that summer Danny Green and Marc Gasol were also brought into the team.

    6IX QUICK FACTS (According to NBA.com)

    1. Kawhi Leonard is a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year award winner and the 2014 NBA Finals MVP.
    2. Leonard was named Finals MVP and NBA Defensive Player of the Year before being selected to his first NBA All-Star game.
    3. A handshake with Leonard is one to be remembered: According to the New York Times, Leonard’s hand measures 11.25 inches across from thumb to pinkie and 9.75 inches long. This is a staggering 52 percent wider than the average man’s hand. Though Leonard stands 6-foot-7, his wingspan is listed at 7-foot-3.
    4. During his time in San Antonio, Leonard became a star away from the floor in team promotional videos in partnership with local grocery chain H-E-B.
    5. He was the third-youngest player to be named Finals MVP, and just the sixth in NBA history to be named Finals MVP in a season where they were not an All-Star.
    6. He has been an All-NBA First Team selection twice (2016, 2017).

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