Toronto might have to improve upon its 34-48 record from a season ago in order for coach Dwane Casey to keep his job, especially with well-respected GM Masai Ujiri now running the show. While Ujiri decided to retain Casey for this season, another poor start by the Raptors could create "hot seat" talk in a hurry, and the team's November schedule offers them no favors.
Toronto begins the season with six of nine games on the road (Atlanta, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Indiana, Houston, Memphis), and all of them look like a big test -- even the games against the Bucks and Bobcats are hardly sure wins. Sprinkled in there are home games against Boston, Miami and Utah. While beating the Heat is probably unlikely, the matchups with the rebuilding Celtics and Jazz could be two of the more promising chances to pick up wins in their first nine games.
It gets no easier from there, though. The Raptors' remaining November schedule includes home dates against Chicago, Portland, Washington, Brooklyn and Miami -- all playoff-caliber teams. A Nov. 20 game at Philadelphia may offer a temporary reprieve from the difficult early-season schedule, but overall these first 15 games will be a big test.
If the Raptors can claw their way to 6-8 wins over this stretch, it could set them up for a promising season as the schedule lightens up. A 3-12 start, or something in that neighborhood, though, and Casey could be the first coaching casualty of the season.