The Toronto Raptors have appeared in the playoffs for four consecutive seasons. This year, it looks like the team will make it five in a row, as they currently sit in the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Raptors have found that success thanks to their backcourt duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, who have been the stars on all of those playoff teams. This season DeRozan has emerged as Toronto’s top star, taking yet another step beyond just playing at an All-Star level. Lowry and DeRozan are now considered one of the best backcourt combinations in the East, but their journey to becoming that almost ended before it really got going.
In 2013, the Raptors appeared poised to blow things up. Masai Ujiri had taken over the operation and, after scuffling out of the gate, shipped Rudy Gay to Memphis, signaling the start of a rebuild. Lowry was next up to be traded and many reports pointed to the Knicks as the landing spot for the point guard. A deal was reportedly very close to getting done before New York backed down from the offer, and Lowry ended up staying in Toronto for the time being.