Henry McCarty was old before his time. He lost his parents at 15 and turned to robbery to stay alive. He fled New Mexico Territory still in his teens and joined a gang of outlaws. He was better known as Billy the Kid still as a teen. He fought to stop a sheriff from seizing his employer's cattle, and the state placed a bounty on his head for his crimes in the battle. He was captured, sentenced to hang, escaped, and captured again. By the time he was shot and killed at 21, McCarty had killed eight men.
Like Billy the Kid before them, the Toronto Raptors may not be old in years, but they are wizened in achievements. Several members of the roster, including on- and off-court leaders Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and O.G. Anunoby won a championship in 2019. VanVleet and Siakam especially were vital members of that roster. Players like Chris Boucher and Otto Porter jr. -- both former members of the Golden State Warriors -- are veterans without having turned 30. Boucher battled his way from the G League to the NBA, while Porter was a third-overall draft pick who disappointed in Washington and Chicago before earning a second life as a sharpshooting defender who didn't try to do too much. Thad Young was a member of the Philadelphia 76ers before The Process.
Yet the Raptors are actually younger than the average NBA team. They roster a variety of players statistically on the upswing towards their primes, including Scottie Barnes (only 21 years old), Christian Koloko (22), Gary Trent jr. (23), Precious Achiuwa (23), Dalano Banton (22), and even Anunoby (25). The Raptors ought to hope that at least two of those players become stars. In the same way that VanVleet and Siakam inherited the franchise from Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan before them, the future leaders of the franchise are likely already on the roster.
So how to judge the early season in terms of development for the youngsters? The Raptors may be only 1-2, but there's so much more to the early season than simple wins and losses.