Seven NBA teams have won more than 60% of their games over the last five years – Warriors, Spurs, Rockets, Clippers, Raptors, Thunder and Cavaliers. Six of those seven teams have had at least three Christmas games in that span.
The lone exception: Toronto, which played its only Christmas game in franchise history in 2001.
“We’ve won. We’ve been one of the best in the league the past few years. To not get that look is definitely crazy. … There is really no excuse. We’ve proven we are a top team in the league for a reason,” said DeRozan
“It has gotten to the point where you just sigh and say, ‘Another year …’ That’s crazy. I always wanted to say that I’m playing on Christmas,” DeRozan said.
The league prioritizes large-market teams like the Lakers and Knicks for these marquee games, which squeezes teams like the Raptors. DeRozan might not like that, but it’s sound business for the NBA.
The Raptors are borderline deserving of a Christmas game. They win consistently, though they’ve underachieved in the playoffs. They play in a large market, though in Canada. They have multiple All-Stars in DeRozan and Lowry, though neither is a huge name.
Nobody would think twice if the NBA highlighted Toronto on the premier regular-season date. But few would notice if the Raptors were omitted.
Except DeRozan. He wants the recognition – and that’s fair from his perspective.
It’s just hard to rally support for his cause outside Toronto fans.