Despite finishing with 59 wins for the best record in the Eastern Conference last season, the Toronto Raptors shook up their roster significantly this off-season in search of an elusive playoff run. Toronto has a very good young bench that could give the starters a break if they need it.
Toronto made a blockbuster deal–arguably one of the biggest off-season trades–with the San Antonio Spurs, obtaining Small forward Kawhi Leonard and Shooting guard Danny Green. The Raptors took a chance since Leonard is only guaranteed in Toronto for a year, later able to be resigned by any team. After an upset in the second round of the 2017-18 playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Toronto needed to make some changes in order to keep up with the other top teams in the Eastern Conference. So far this season they are in 1st place in the entire league and have locked up a playoff spot already. Kawhi said after their game against the Lakers, “I don’t even totally know the offence yet and once I do get to know the offence I can maybe give Kyle a break and I can get him some more open shots”.
Toronto has 3 major competitors: Milwaukee, Philly and Boston. Earlier in the year everyone had some questions about how Boston was going to play together because of how much talent they have on their roster and how their bench compares to NBA teams starting lineups. The Celtics are considered to have one of the deepest talents throughout the league and any of those players can be a key starter on any most teams in the NBA. The 76ers were a solid team coming into this season after making the playoffs the past season, but were never really looked at as the favourites in the Eastern Conference only to be a third place team in the conference especially after they traded for Jimmy Butler.
The way the Bucks have been playing it’s looking like they could potentially be a top contending team in the East along with Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics. Right now Toronto is dominating the East and Boston hasn’t reached their full potential but there are still lots of people that think that Boston is still the favorites to come out on top of the East. Toronto though has proven that they can compete with Boston in the East.
I think Toronto’s chances to come out of the East is pretty good right now but still have to prove that they can play at a high level when it really matters. Outside of Boston, Toronto, Philly and Milwaukee, there are no other real threats to come out of the East but Toronto and Boston are still head and shoulders above everyone in the East with both Milwaukee and Philly contending for fourth just because both teams are able to be dynamic with on-ball and off-ball efforts. So outside of these teams there is no other teams in the East that are as good enough to get out of the East and maybe not even good enough to get out of the first round. Toronto played the San Antonio Spurs on January 3rd and the spurs got a very good team win but that wasn’t the biggest moment of the game it was the tribute video to Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, when they announced Danny’s name into the starting lineup he got an standing ovation then the fan quickly switched to boos when they announced Kawhi Leonard’s name. Right now at this moment i’m going to go with Toronto as the favourites in the Eastern Conference but Milwaukee has shown some promise Boston has had its ups and downs Philadelphia has been pretty consistent since trading for Jimmy Butler but still need to add that shooter because right now you really only have two consistent shooters in J.J. Reddick and Jimmy Butler and Indiana Has shown some promise.