#3) Toronto Raptors
Hot take: The Raptors are still good.
There are no real shortages of fans and media analysts alike that are writing this team off with the departure of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. Are they immediate favorites to claim back to back titles? No, but this is still a pretty good team.
Pascal Siakam is emerging as a borderline star in the NBA after a season that saw tremendous growth in his game last year—which culminated in a Most Improved Player award.
Marc Gasol is not exactly getting younger, but he’s still productive as an anchor defensively and a stretch five with good passing instincts on the other end. Ibaka had spurts of dominance in the NBA Finals, Van Vleet is a flamethrower off the bench, and Kyle Lowry by now has proven his worth in the league.
Oh, and they’re coached by Nick Nurse, who essentially outcoached Mike Budenholzer in the Eastern Conference Finals and obviously fared well against Steve Kerr. They’re obviously going to miss their Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard, and “3 and D” specialist, Danny Green, but their departures don’t necessarily negate them back to mediocrity.
This is a well-coached, well-balanced roster that is very much so capable of nearing 50 wins in their conference.