The Toronto Raptors are healthy and they also own the Eastern Conference’s second best record which is good for fourth in the entire NBA. The Raptors are currently looking down on the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs in the standings.
While DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, and Serge Ibaka’s numbers haven’t jumped out of the stat sheet, the Raptors have been successful due to their more efficient execution. Toronto is committing the ninth fewest turnovers while having the sixth best field goal percentage and tenth most assists per game.
However, one man isn’t buying the air on Canada as of the moment. During a recent episode of NBA Countdown on ESPN, retired NBA star Paul Pierce boldly spoke his mind out on the Raptors’ success.
“I’m not really sold on them yet because I’ve seen this replay from the Raptors — a great regular-season team, where they end up in the Top 4 [in the Eastern Conference], home-court advantage, just to see them get bounced again in the playoffs,” Pierce said. “I don’t know how much they did in the off-season to improve their roster in terms of getting that player that can get you over the top. They have good, young role players, [Jonas] Valanciunas is improving, but I just don’t see that other player that gets them past where they need to go.
“I look at them as a team that can make the second round, put up a good fight but their ceiling may be the Eastern Conference Finals but no further than that. They can get the best record in the East, have home-court advantage, but I just don’t see this team really being a contender amongst Cleveland, Houston, Golden State.”
This isn’t the first time that Paul Pierce spewed words that’ve caused eyebrows to be raised. Much like his ways during his playing days, the former Boston Celtics star still has his way with words.
That said, Pierce doesn’t really look at the Raptors in a terrible light. DeRozan, Lowry, Ibaka, and co. may just have to make a mental note on these comments to fire them up as they try to prove their doubters wrong.