With the Toronto Raptors set to tip off their 20th season on Wednesday night at home against the Atlanta Hawks, expectations are unusually high for Canada’s only NBA team.
The Raptors went into last season as a presumptive also-ran with a shot at landing Canadian phenom Andrew Wiggins in the draft. Instead, Toronto rebounded from a slow start to capture a surprise Atlantic Division title and stretched a Brooklyn team loaded with big-name veterans to a seventh game in the Raptors’ first playoff series in six years.
Now that their fans have a taste for success, can the Raps take the next step toward championships contention?
Here are five factors that could sway Toronto’s 2014-15 season, presented in an interactive graphic from The Canadian Press: