This is poison in a basketball column.
Naturally, I am going to do it anyway.
Would you, as a fellow from that other sport once posited, want to make the playoffs only to risk being manhandled by another team?
I think the Raptors can make the playoffs.
I say this in the wake of the iceberg, the 4-19 start.
Logic, of course, dictates that the majority of teams that begin by losing 19 of their first 23 games don’t make a whole lot of plans for late Spring.
Faith, defined by many as the suspension of logic, is in truth belief in the face of mountainous precedent. Repeat it to yourself. It kind of makes sense.
I don’t say the Raptors can make the playoffs as a matter of faith although heaven knows, a little faith can help.
I say it in the spirit of logic.
The Raptors close off the month with winnable road games in New Orleans (6-22) and Orlando (12-16).
The Raps are 1-9 in their last 10 road games. Not a lot of room for wild optimism there. Let’s assume a split. That puts them at 10-21. Imagine .500 as the playoffs.
The Raptors play 15 games in January. Ten of those are at home.
Let’s say the Raptors win eight of 10 home games and two of their five road contests. That’s 10-5. That puts them at 20-26 going into February. Game on.
So the real question is, can the Raptors go 10-5 next month? I think I have logic backing me this time too.
Out of nowhere, Amir Johnson has developed a midrange jump shot. Johnson’s ability to do damage facing the basket, persistent hustle and ability to regulate his chronic foul trouble makes him a far more substantial contributor.
The team is getting back an NBA-calibre point guard in Kyle Lowry who has seen Jose Calderon nurture young players such as Terrence Ross and Ed Davis. Expectations for Lowry can now be downscaled all the way down to moderate.
Every young team deals with mountainous precedent. They haven’t done anything yet. But there are glimpses in Ross, in Davis, of sheer promise. Put them together with the exemplary Alan Anderson and Calderon on a team that can consistently hold their opponents under 100 points a night. Throw in useful minutes from Landry Fields. I think you have possibility.
This is not a tired pack of losers being dragged along by a Jalen Rose or Mike James type who will get his numbers while the team sometimes entertains but never enthuses.
There is something here.
Maybe that is faith, what Lincoln called the better angel of our nature.
So sue me.