For seven years Raptors fans have known nothing but playoff basketball.
Tied with Portland for the league’s longest active playoff streak, Raptors fans will see that streak broken this year as Toronto will (more than likely) miss the NBA playoffs for the first time since the 2012/13 season.
Realistically for a lot of Raptors fans, this is the first time in their fandom that they will watch playoff basketball without their favourite team involved… so who do you cheer for?
If you’re having trouble deciding on a temporary team to cheer for this postseason, I have put together a guide for some of your best options as a fan up North, and some teams to stay away from.
Acceptable Teams to Cheer For
While the Washington Wizards aren’t technically in the playoffs yet, they are comfortably sitting in the ninth seed and have locked in an appearance for the play-in games. Russell Westbrook is a huge reason why the Wizards would be fun to watch in the postseason, who recently tied Oscar Robertson’s triple double record.
If Westbrook isn’t reason enough to cheer for the Wizards, Rui Hachimura should be.
Hachimura is one of two active Japanese NBA players, the other one being Raptors own Yuta Watanabe. With only one Japanese player in this year’s playoffs, it’s safe to say that if you’re cheering for Washington you’ll have a ton of Raptors fans in Japan right there with you.
Oh, and Bradley Beal is cool too.
New York Knicks
If you find it difficult to cheer for a division rival, just tell yourself that by rooting for the Knicks you are really just supporting Canada and it’s prodigal son, the Maple Mamba himself, RJ Barrett.
Also, seeing the Knicks in the playoffs is rare so you might want to get a taste of it while it lasts.
Portland Trail Blazers
Portland has a pretty similar colour scheme to the Raptors… so if you’re in full on denial mode I guess you can watch Norman Powell play and convince yourself Toronto is, in fact, in the playoffs.
Don’t You Dare Cheer For These Teams
*For the record, I will not be going in depth on my reasoning here. It should be very very clear. I will also not be linking a tweet because I am salty and feel as if these teams deserve as little attention as possible.*
Los Angeles Clippers
If you would like to have your heart ripped out as you watch Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka show you what could have been if they stayed in Toronto, then by all means watch this franchise find a way to underwhelm you in yet another conference semi-final exit.
Los Angeles Lakers
On one hand, they didn’t want to give up key members of their team to trade for Kyle Lowry so I am happy. On the other hand, they didn’t want to give up key members of their team to get Kyle Lowry which to me seems like they aren’t respecting the G.R.O.A.T.’s talent, so I hope they lose and regret that decision for the rest of their life.
Every. Single. One. Of. Them.
If I have to explain to you, a “Raptors fan”, why you should not even think about the Boston Celtics then you aren’t a Raptors fan at all.
Need I say more?