Every Raptors fan and basketball pundit in the city of Toronto knows that the real season starts in the playoffs. That's when the team will have to prove to the league and to its own executives that the re-tooled roster is worthy of sticking together for the long haul.
It's easy to conclude that if your team is not still playing, that title contention is far away. Furthermore, to truly contend drastic changes must be considered. But I think the data tells a different story.
If legends such as Hakeem Olajuwon can become one of the world's best NBA Players, and Luol Deng an all-star, then imagine the potential that would exist if basketball was just as much a part of African culture as soccer is.
I had the good fortune to become the first African-born General Manager in American sports, a blessed example of someone given an opportunity. But as fortunate as I have been, I'd be a failure if I couldn't provide opportunities to the next generation.
With the Pacers in rapid decline and the Heat sliding not far behind, anything seems possible. Check that: almost anything (sorry, Charlotte). With hopes of early upsets, here are my picks for the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.