Toronto Raptors Begin NBA Season in Tampa

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Via Toronto Raptors Instagram.

Jibril Mustafa

   The Toronto Raptors have moved to Tampa, FL where they host all of their home games in the Amalie Arena. Due to COVID-19, Canada has put in place restrictions on cross-border travel, making it impossible for other teams in the NBA to play in Canada. So, the Toronto Raptors have temporarily left Canada and looked to play the NBA season in the United States. 

   After touring Nashville, Wesley Chapel, Buffalo and Fort Lauderdale, the representatives for the Raptors chose the Amalie Arena in Tampa due to its superior facility and proximity to hotels. The Toronto Raptors have been spotted at Tampa Preparatory School, where the Raptors hold early morning workouts and practices. 

   In a new arena, the start of the 2020-2021 season has not gone the best for the Toronto Raptors. They are currently the tenth best team in the eastern conference with a record of seven wins and ten losses. Through 17 games, the Raptors have yet to hit their stride and don’t have as many wins as professional analysts would have hoped.

   After their national championship and losing their star player, Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors look to return to be a force in the NBA again. With All-Stars like Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam combined with key players like Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell and Aron Baynes, the Raptors have all the pieces they need to be a threat. 

   With his two-star players out with injuries, former Coach of the Year winner, Nick Nurse has been trying to get the best out of his players. On the offensive end, they rank second in the NBA for 3-pointers made and eighth for 3-point percentage as a team. They have also kept the pressure on defense. They are currently ranked fifth in steals and sixth in blocks throughout the entire league. 

   Kyle Lowry, in his fourteenth season in the NBA, is not only a star on the team but he’s also a leader with his veteran presence and playmaking. His position on the team can’t be filled by anyone and he will have to be a crucial part if the team wishes to win games and make it to the playoffs. Lowry’s return from his back injury along with Pascal Siakam’s return from his knee injury will lead to a lot more Raptors wins and hopefully, a permanent home in Tampa.