Local Toronto native Cory Joseph got to start his NBA career with the San Antonio Spurs and that team hasn’t failed to win 50 games since the lockout shortened season of 1998-99 when they went 37-13. So what has been going on with the Toronto Raptors this season hasn’t been anything usual to a kid used to winning.
“Today somebody came and told me congrats and I didn’t know what he was telling me congrats for,” Joseph said after the win over Atlanta laughing. “I was spoiled and used to winning 50 games, but it’s huge, it’s big the first time. Whenever you do something for the first time ever in franchise history it’s a big step. You have to realize it’s a good accolade to have and a good thing for the whole team.”
At 24-years-old Joseph has never experienced the pain of playing on a really bad NBA team like DeMar DeRozan did in his first few Raptors seasons, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate winning.
“It’s always nice when you can be on a winning team,” Joseph said. “Winning 50 games in a season, I’ll never get bored with doing that.”
However, the Raptors season isn’t over and the 50th win was just another step along the path this team had planned on taking this season. They aren’t done yet.
“The season is not over and this is not our main goal,” Joseph explained. “It’s just the next step. Of course you are happy you accomplished it and you obviously wanted to do it. Now it’s just about staying with the process.”
With the Celtics loss on Thursday night to Portland, the Raptors have secured the Atlantic Division crown for the third consecutive season and they are just one game away from guaranteeing a finish in the Eastern Conference that can be no worse than second place. Finishing second in the East would be yet another franchise first.
A Raptors win or loss by the Hawks and Heat makes it a two-way contest with the first place Cavs for the top two spots in the East. The Cavaliers have the tougher schedule after this weekend, but currently enjoy a two game lead on Toronto.
Joseph has been spoiled by the Spurs success, but there are very few others in Toronto on professional teams or as fans of their local pro teams that can claim the same. So enjoy the regular season ride. Despite the improving Raptors recent success, new franchise bests really don’t happen all that often.