As we know, Grizzlies lasted only 6 seasons in Vancouver before they moved to the States. Based on good draft selections during first 4 seasons (Stoudamire, Camby, McGrady and Carter) we became hot ticket in Toronto. Along with the fact that we play in 4th biggest market in North America, that made our future in Toronto secure. But with the Raptors:
1. Not being an exciting product for 11 seasons,
2. Not being able to sign quality free agents (Hedo was the best we ever signed)
3. Not being able to keep ANY of our best players at the club,
Are we as safe in Toronto as we like to think?
We all know that NBA is busyness and as long as our fans fill the arena, Raptors future in Toronto is safe regardless of results. But with product on the floor being less then impressive, for how long can we expect fans to fill Air Canada Center? During first 9 seasons in the NBA, our attendance was outside top 10 in the league only once. During the last 9 seasons, our attendance was within top 10 only twice. It is obvious that fans are turning their backs on the team, disappointed in lack of vision or direction.
Best example of where this trend can lead is what happened to Charlotte Hornets. During their first decade in the NBA they have had best attendance in the NBA, finishing first 8 times. But during the next 4 seasons, their attendance has gone to 6th, 11th, 21st and finally 29th, after which they moved to New Orleans. And during those last 4 seasons, they have made it twice to the second round of the playoffs, so they were no pushovers.
5 seasons since we last made the playoffs, we are unsure if we are rebuilding or trying to make the playoffs. We are projected to finish 10th next season and than likely to hit the rebuild button. The question is, will fans follow the team through another rebuilding process?