Toronto Raptors – The New Beast of the East?

RaptorsPlaqueStep aside LeBron, D-Wade, and Carmelo. While these big name basketball superstars still continue to grasp national headlines, it’s the Toronto Raptors that are the most deserving of the spotlight for the 2014-2015 NBA season. Through the first 26 games of the regular season, Toronto is 20-6 and has a stronghold on first place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Since the NBA expanded across the border and the Raptors became an NBA expansion team in 1995, Toronto basketball has been nothing short of an embarrassment. In the team’s nearly 20-year history, they have won only one NBA playoff series and finished the regular season over .500 a mere five times. The former home to superstars such as Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, and Chris Bosh has been known more for their flashy jerseys and super-fan Drake than their on-court rather than success.

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However, under the leadership of new head coach Dwane Casey, things are starting to turn around up north. Under Casey, Toronto has improved in each of the past four seasons, winning their second division title in franchise history in 2014. Along with the intangible help on the bench, the Raptors are developing a few superstars of their own. In the past several seasons, few players have shined brighter on the court than Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. The former Houston Rocket Lowry has run the back-court flawlessly for the Raptors since his acquisition in 2012. Through December of the 2014-15 season, Lowry has averaged nearly 20 points a game and has been a key piece to Toronto’s success in Eastern Conference play. Lowry’s running mate DeMar DeRozan is shaping up to be a perennial All-Star selection for years to come. Since DeRozan was selected by Toronto ninth overall in the 2009 NBA Draft out of the University of Southern California, the ex-Trojan has shown significant signs of improvement in each of his six years with the Raptors and earned his first NBA All-Star Game nod in 2014. With the help of big man Jonas Valanciunas and the high-flying Terrance Ross, Toronto is very well on their way to back-to-back division championships and quite possibly their first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history.

Celebrate the success of the NBA’s first place Canadian team and their growth as a legitimate basketball contender with can’t-miss Toronto Raptors memorabilia. With an incredible assortment of authentic hand-signed items from Toronto superstars of past and present, NBA fans can celebrate the franchise’s all-time points leaders with memorabilia pieces from Vince Carter and Chris Bosh or cheer on current Raptors with an assortment of DeMar DeRozan photos. Be sure to shop Fanatics Authentic to find the perfect piece of Toronto Raptors memorabilia to take home for your sports collection or a unique sports gift for a special fan.

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