Another post-season, another Toronto Raptors squad stumped by Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It’s easy for many fans to rush to a conclusion with the series sweep still fresh. For many, that conclusion leads to head coach Dwayne Casey being out of a job after coaching Toronto to its best regular season in franchise history.
But it’s a long off-season, and this team has the luxury of a little time before making any club-altering decisions. Former Raptor Damon Stoudamire just hopes they use it.
“For me, as a fan, as a coach, as an ex-player, I always say this: ‘It’s never as good as you think it is, but it’s never quite as bad as it seems,’” Stoudamire said during an interview on The Starting Lineup Thursday morning. “And I think probably the best thing to do is you sit back for a couple of weeks and you kind of digest the season, digest what just happened, and then you kind of go from there.”
Stoudamire, who began his career with the expansion Raptors back in 1995, also touched on a few other topics during Thursday’s radio appearance. Here are a few highlights from what he said.
On where it all went wrong against the Cavaliers:
“You have a great season, obviously it didn’t end the way anyone wanted it to. It’s almost like the Cleveland Cavaliers going through the Chicago Bulls back in the Michael Jordan era. Lebron, this generation’s Michael Jordan, he did a heck of job in this past series. It just seemed like the Raptors never recovered after that Game 1 loss. I always look at things from a psychological standpoint, and it just seemed like they never recovered.”
On what should be Lebron James’ next move:
“I think that if he stays in the East, he’s fine. I think any team he goes to in the Eastern Conference, I think he elevates that team to the Finals. I think that’s just who he is. I personally don’t think he even gets challenged until he gets to the Finals.
“The one thing that’s lacked in the Eastern Conference is that guy that can personally challenge him and take that challenge.”
On Toronto basketball’s silver lining following another loss:
“The evolution of basketball in this city has been tremendous. It’s been great, and it’s something that I think this city can be proud of. As we sit here today and we talk about the Toronto Raptors and we’re talking about the disappointment, the only reason we talk about the disappointment is the evolution of the game. There was no disappointment years ago in Toronto — lose, and it was like, ‘Hey, we’re just happy to be there.’ But today, as I’m here in the city, I see people disappointed but that just shows you where basketball has come and where it’s going to continue to go.”