it seems like just yesterday when being a raptor fan filled one with, at worst, optimistic hope. you could look at the other atlantic teams, and it was a sea of mediocrity (at best), without much of a future. NY was a joke, NJ was imploding, philly was meh, and boston looked like it was going to lose it's franchise player. ah, 2006/7. heady times. TO brings in a 'legit' wunderkind to right the ship, they get the #1 pick, lots of cap space, and have a 'franchise' player to build around.
now? well, let's see...
boston pulled a couple heist moves in acquiring KG & allen, after being foiled in their attempts to tank & get the #1 pick in '07. usually, the karma gods bestow pain/suffering/misery on that kind of blatant tanking, but not in beantown, where it's been rewarded with a chip, a top-5 pg & a longer run of excellence than anyone would likely have thought at the time.
philly - it took a while, and having brand be brand for a couple years didn't help...neither did iggy thinking he was a number 1 scoring option. but over the last few months, they've been one of the better teams in the east. brand is BRAND again, holliday is taking control of that team, iggy is playing like everyone says he should (picking his spots offensively, great D, etc.), and turner is showing why people have such high hopes for him.
NJ - still somethong of a joke, but certainly with some upside. if they could figure how how lopez caught bargnaniitis (a strange & unexplained mental disorder that causes the sufferer to be unable or unwilling to rebound) & treat it, they'd have a fairly decent future, even if they missed out on melo (and killed murphy's trade value this season). they'll be active this week...should be interesting how things play out.
NY - i guess they aren't a joke now, right? not title contenders (yet), still don't have much of a bench, and they can't really stop anyone, but they've moved themselves into a position to at least compete with the upper echelon teams in the E. like the heat, it'll probably be another year or two before all the pieces come together, but the future looks bright.
and now...YOUR...TORONTOOOOOOOOOO RAPTORRRRRS! - hmm. let's see. i like their uniforms. ed davis looks like a decent enough prospect, at least on the defensive/rebounding side. derozan is likely a good 2nd/3rd scoring option. bargs is bargs (i.e. what you see is what you're going to get). the future? who knows?
so, basically, the raptors went from being a team on the rise in a division that sucked just 4 years ago, to being on the outside looking in at that same division. they've been passed by literally every team in their division in such a short timeframe, it kinda makes your head spin.