August is the month where we all become a little antsy. Left with absolutely nothing to keep ourselves occupied with and to be quite frank, it has gotten even worse with the 2017-18 NBA schedule being released.
Today is the day where we begin to anticipate for months what our favourite NBA team is capable of and if you're a Toronto Raptors fan, there's a whole lot to get excited about.
Raptors Starting Point
The Raptors begin their season with a home-opener against the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 19 at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto lost the season series to Chicago last year, but things should be quite different with the Bulls looking to rebuild, as they shipped their star guard Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves on draft night back in late June.
After their matchup against the Bulls, the Raptors welcome Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers in a short two-game home-stand, before they begin their longest road trip of the season.
A road trip already? Sadly, yes.
Six games, in 12 days which include matchups against the San Antonio Spurs and the defending NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors.
Seems tough, but at least there are no back-to-backs on this trip, right?
Key Games to Jot Down
Nov. 12 - Toronto visits Boston
The Raptors first look at their Atlantic Division rival, the Boston Celtics. With the new additions of rookie Jayson Tatum and forward Gordon Hayward for Boston, it will be interesting to see how Toronto will fair against a team looking to take the Eastern Conference by storm.
Dec. 15 - DeMarre Carroll makes his emphatic return
The Raptors squaring off with the Brooklyn Nets is not a game someone would usually mark down on their schedule but after Carroll's comments in July, eluding to the lack of trust in the Raps locker room; it is definitely a game worth tuning into. His reception from Raptors fans will likely be the highlight.
Jan. 11 - LeBron James comes to town
It is always fun to see King James and the Cleveland Cavaliers visit but expect the Raptors to be playing with a chip on their shoulder in this one. The first matchup of a three-game series and the Raps definitely will recall their second-round sweep they received from the hands of the Cavaliers.
Mar. 9 - James Harden and Chris Paul touchdown
It will be a back court matchup like none other with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan taking on James Harden and Chris Paul. Also, P.J. Tucker makes his return to Toronto after his second short stint with the franchise. Tucker was phenomenal in his 24 games with the Raptors last season, shooting 40.6 percent from deep and bringing in a strong defensive presence. His departure is definitely one the Raptors wish they could have prevented.
The Raptors will play their last home game on Apr. 8 against the Orlando Magic and their last game of the season will be on Apr. 11 against the Miami Heat.
Raptors on National Television?
The Raptors have a total of 12 national televised games this season. Seven games on NBA TV, one game on TNT, and four games on ESPN. Tied with the Sacramento Kings, ranking 18th in the league in national-televised games amongst the other teams in the league.
The Raptors should definitely finish amongst the top five teams in the eastern conference. After saying goodbye to four players this off-season in Carroll, Tucker, Patrick Patterson, and Cory Joseph the Raps managed to replace them with barely any bodies making it truly hard to see the Raptors winning 50-plus games for the third consecutive season.
Toronto should fall in the 40-49 win category this upcoming season. They will have to rely on the development of the young guys on the roster like Norman Powell, Delon Wright, Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl to be able to stay afloat and be seen as contenders and not pretenders in the eastern conference.