Raptors’ Masai Ujiri just gave a giant middle finger to the play-in tournament
The Toronto Raptors just suffered through a brutal 27-45 season. They had to play their home games in Tampa and dealt with a number of health issues, including a plethora of COVID-19 problems. By the end of the season, the Raptors mailed it in and didn’t even bother trying to get in the play-in tournament by sitting a number of their key players down the stretch.
Raptors president Masai Ujiri was asked why Toronto didn’t make a stronger effort to get in the play-in games. His answer is absolutely priceless:
Ujiri: "Everybody's like 'why don't you get in the play-in?' Play-in for what?" Says everybody has already forgotten they won a title two years ago. So the goal is to win another. "What's the next lift? What are we doing to put ourselves in conversation with all the winners?"
— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) May 19, 2021
So there you have it. Ujiri and the Raptors didn’t think they were going anywhere and just gave a giant middle finger to the play-in tournament because it didn’t matter much in terms of winning a championship in the future. Toronto probably could have come out of the play-in tournament if it played its best players, but it would have been tough to get any further than that.
The Raptors have high standards after winning the championship in 2019. After such a difficult season, they figured missing the play-in and maximizing their NBA Draft Lottery odds is the best way to build another championship contender. It’s hard to blame them given all they went through this season.
There are some big questions about the future in Toronto, including with Ujiri himself and whether or not he’ll be around for the long haul. The current signs point to yes, but he wants to make sure he’s on the same page with everybody else in the organization.
It’s going to be interesting to see what the Raptors look like in 2021-22 and if they’ll finally be playing back in Toronto again.