The Toronto Raptors are in the midst of arguably their best season as a franchise. Not only do they currently hold a three-and-a-half game lead on Boston for the No. 1 seed in the East, they’re the only team ranked in the top five in both defensive and offensive efficiency this season.
Much of this is a direct result of how head coach Dwane Casey has recalibrated the offense to push the pace (they’re 11th in the NBA in that department) and create better spacing. Some of that is a byproduct of DeMar DeRozan‘s willingness and improved proficiency from downtown. He’s attempting 3.6 three-pointers per game, which is the highest mark of his career, and converting a borderline-respectable 31.7 percent from that range.
This is in no small measure due to the way Toronto’s front office execs gave him some motivation to improve by comparing him favorably to his childhood hero earlier this season.