The Toronto Raptors suffered a horrible sweep when facing the Cleveland Cavaliers the 2017 playoffs, but perhaps a difference in their playing style could have yielded a different result. DeMarre Carroll, who was recently traded to the Brooklyn Nets after two seasons in Toronto, said a lot of his teammates did not trust each other on the court.
Certain players preferred the isolation style, which favored Raptors stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Others wanted a more team-based style of play, getting everyone involved and maximizing scoring options. Carroll acknowledged that it was difficult to make that change mid-season, as team ball needs to be established early and maintained. He encouraged the Raptors, even after exiting the team, to make strides toward one day becoming selfless in their play but recognized how easy it was to revert back when things get tough.
The veteran forward will be looking to create this culture at Barclays Center, with new additions D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov. The Raptors may very well want to do the same, as the Eastern Conference has grown even weaker and can be for the taking in coming years if LeBron James does end up leaving to Los Angeles.