It hasn’t been the best of seasons for the Toronto Raptors. In New York to take on the Knicks this evening, the team has a 21-55 record on the season, fourth worst in the NBA.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the season –aside from the growth of players like Ed Davis and DeMar DeRozan– is the demeanor of the guys. For the most part, they’ve played hard and competed and unlike a lot of other losing teams, they’ve never pointed fingers. In a league where losing often leads to a locker room filled with guys playing the blame game, the Raptors have been a pleasant surprise.
A group of young players aware that they are in the rebuilding stage, not content to be losing, but patient with one another, it’s enough to make you stop and imagine how ugly things could have gotten this season.
Don’t believe me? Check this clip from the Raptors victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday evening:
That’s pretty cute. The smile on Reggie Evans’s face is what gets me every time. He looks at Leandro Barbosa like, “What are you doing?” then goes along with it anyway.
Evans has been a veteran presence in the locker room and his younger teammates have all grown to respect him immensely as they’ve watched him battle back from foot problems in each of the last two seasons. Tuesday morning, Evans posted this photo from Madison Square Garden after the team’s shootaround:
They may not have logged a lot of wins on the court, but I can think of many worse locker rooms to be in and guys to have to cover.