What Your Business Can Learn From the Toronto Raptors



The NBA offseason is in full swing, and with that officially marks the “Free Agency watch” of 2019. This summer, a number of NBA All-Stars have left their previous teams behind, completely restructuring the face of the league. Free Agency is sure to make some waves, all with one goal in mind: chasing after the Larry O’Brien award and claiming the title of NBA champion. Although there’s plenty of intrigue around the teams in Los Angeles, Houston, and Boston, don’t overlook the champions up north, the Toronto Raptors. The Toronto Raptors built a top-to-bottom team filled with talent that bought into the system. And today, we’re going to look at what lessons your small business can learn from the NBA Champs.


Seize Opportunities, Even if There’s Risk


The Toronto Raptors stunned the sports world during the summer of 2018, when they traded Raptors veteran and long-time favorite DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs for the NBA All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard. This trade rocked the NBA and the fans. Those who followed Leonard closely were aware that he was looking to land on a Los Angeles team, but it was Toronto that would catch his eye.

On top of trading for Leonard, who had no intention of staying with the organization long-term, the Raptors traded their most beloved player in franchise history.

The sentiment around the league was poor, with many mocking the decision. The Raptors had just been swept from the playoffs for the second consecutive time by the Cleveland Cavaliers. The sports world believed the DeRozan-Leonard deal would blow up in the Raptors faces, however, the organization stayed confident despite the criticism and for good reason. The following year, Toronto would prove their nay-sayers wrong by demolishing the Golden State Warriors Dynasty in the NBA Finals in a swift 6 game series to become NBA Champions.


Lesson: If you see the opportunity to make a positive change, you need to go for it. If you’ve managed to run your business well, and you are able to stomach some risk, then you’re ready to take a great leap forward.


Have a Plan for the Future


That being said, you should also make sure that your business is going to be able to continue to grow regardless.


Regardless of the Raptors ability to exceed expectations and win the coveted NBA Champion title, the reigning champions still lost key player Kawhi Leonard this offseason. Now a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, Leonard‘s career in Toronto lasted only a year. Champions or not, the Raptors will have to find a way to move forward without their Finals MVP.


Luckily, Toronto will still have a strong core team, with four of their top five scoring players returning. Just as the momentary era of Kawhi Leonard ends, 25-year-old power forward Pascal Siakam's reign begins. The 25-year-old has more than doubled his points per game and is looking to enhance his performance even more in the coming season as the latest recipient of the league's Most Improved Player award. The presence of Siakam, accompanied by the group of emerging players and veterans that make up the Raptors makes them the team to beat, determined to prove they are more than a one-hit wonder.


Lesson: Whatever your plans are, make sure they are viable long term. If your business is going to succeed today, it needs to be able to succeed tomorrow. There are going to be circumstances where your business takes a hit, so you need to be able to whether that storm and keep moving onwards and upwards.


Youth + Experience is a Winning Combination


While the Toronto Raptors were older than two thirds of the other NBA teams, their key contributors were fairly young. Kyle Lowry played the role of the “elder statesman” at 33, While two of the other key players Sergee Ibaka (29) and Kawhi Leonard (28) placing both in the middle of their NBA careers. Emerging Raptor stars, Fred Van Vleet and Pascal Siakam were both under 25 at the time of the 2019 championship win, with this upcoming season giving them more responsibility on the court. Many of their key players coming off the bench are 30+ and include Marc Gasol, Jodie Meeks, and Jeremy Lin, fulfilling the roles of players and mentors. (30 is considered old? What’s going on!?)


But perhaps the best example of youth + experience comes from their 51-year-old coach, Nick Nurse. At 51, nobody would accuse him of being a “young” coach, but many questioned if he had the experience. See, this was Nurse’s first year as a head coach in the NBA. After spending 5 years as an assistant coach for Toronto, Nick Nurse received the nod and did the most with his opportunity. When asked why he was hired, GM Masai Ujiri explained how he was “…. Trying new stuff, being innovative is who Nick is. You can tell he's a tactician who really thinks the game.” Even though he’d be a new coach, executives had faith that he had the right stuff to get the job done.


Lesson: Don’t confuse someone’s age with their capability. Look at the body of work they’ve produced to get a real feel for what they can do. Also, combine the strengths of different types of people to create a stronger unit.


So, while you might not be chasing the NBA Championship, your business and your team are chasing success. See how naturalForms can help your team succeed and get a free 14-day trial with naturalForms today.


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