It's been a very, very rough season for the Toronto Raptors and you'd be forgiven if your interest level in the team was beginning to wane.
It's fair to wonder why someone would want to watch the lowly 2020-21 Toronto Raptors take on the overtly tanking Oklahoma City Thunder. Well, my friends, all it takes is a little change of perspective.
Contrary to popular belief, Wednesday night's game is actually a really important one for the Raptors. No, it probably won't have playoff implications or anything, but it'll likely have lottery implications.
As things sit on Wednesday morning, the Raptors are 18-29 with the seventh-worst record in the NBA and a 32% chance at a top-four pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Their Wednesday night rival, the Thunder, have the eighth-worst record in the league at 19-27, 1.5 games ahead of the Raptors and with a 26.3% chance at a top-four pick in the draft.
Based on my recent Twitter poll of just over 1,000 Raptors fans (a small sample size, of course), 75 to 80% of respondents want to see Toronto focus on playing their younger players and, dare I say, even lose a few more games to increase the Raptors lottery odds.
Unfortunately???? Wednesday night likely won't offer that opportunity for the Raptors. The Thunder will be without both their Canadians, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort, and Toronto finds itself as eight-point favourites (Now 7.5 points), according to Covers with a -313 moneyline, implying a 75% chance to win.
I don't know how many fans who want the Raptors to tank this season can actively cheer against their team. It's one thing to just vaguely hope they lose and it's another to cheer every time
Aleksej Pokusevski (He's been ruled out due to Healthy and Safety Protocols) scores a bucket for the Thunder. But if there was ever a time this season for those fans to actively be cheering against Toronto, it might just be tonight.