I try to approach the NBA as a basketball fan first and a Raptors fan second. I like to get a feel for the teams that could be interesting underdogs in any given year and try to catch some of their games. I tend to limit my strong interest to the Eastern Conference since I don't have much flexibility to stay up late and I always have a mild tendency to root for some of my childhood favourites from the days before the Raptors (Bulls and Pacers). I'm also keeping a special eye on the Canadian talent more and more.
Approach basketball like this and use the Raptors as a way of keeping tied into the game and it's always fun to watch. Of course when the Raps are doing well, that's a huge bonus.