|Position||Name||Number||Height||Weight||Date of Birth||School|
|Guard||Lowry, Kyle||7||1,83 m||93 kg||25.03.1986||Villanova|
|Guard||Lin, Jeremy||17||1,91 m||91 kg||23.08.1988||Harvard|
|Guard||VanFleet, Fred||23||1,83 m||88 kg||25.02.1994||Wichita State|
|Guard||McCaw, Patrick||1||2,01 m||84 kg||25.10.1995||UNLV|
|Guard||Lloyd, Jordan||8||1,93 m||95 kg||27.07.1993||Indianapolis|
|Guard/Forward||Green, Danny||14||1,98 m||98 kg||22.06.1987||North Carolina|
|Guard/Forward||Powell, Norman||24||1,93 m||98 kg||25.05.1993||UCLA|
|Forward||Leonard, Kawhi||2||2,01 m||104 kg||29.06.1991||San Diego State|
|Forward||Siakam, Pascal||43||2,06 m||104 kg||02.04.1991||New Mexico State|
|Forward||Anunoby, OG||3||2,03 m||107 kg||17.07.1997||Indiana|
|Forward||Boucher, Chris||25||2,08 m||91 kg||11.01.1993||Oregon|
|Forward||Miller, Malcolm||13||2,01 m||95 kg||06.03.1993||Holy Cross|
|Forward/Center||Ibaka, Serge||9||2,08 m||107 kg||18.09.1989||Republic of Congo|
|Forward/Center||Moreland, Eric||15||2,08 m||108 kg||24.12.1991||Oregon State|
|Center||Gasol, Marc||33||2,16 m||116 kg||29.01.1985||Spain|
LeBron James is no longer playing in the Eastern Conference. That alone should give the Toronto Raptors confidence for this year's playoffs. Each time the Raptors were eliminated from the post season in the last 10 years it came at the hands of 'King James'. That will definitely change this season.
With the addition of Marc Gasol and Kawhi Leonard the Raptors have made it clear that they are serious about making a run at the championship now rather than later. And even though both Gasol and Leonard may use their player options this summer and leave Toronto empty-handed, the Raptors are willing to take that chance for a shot at the title.
So how good are the Raptors really? In our opinion pretty damn good. Of all the Eastern Conference contenders they have probably the best roster and the most experience. With Leonard and Gasol they also have two proven franchise caliber players who are thirsty for a championship ring in a conference that is theirs for the taking.
Trading DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard was a gutsy move. If Leonard uses his player option the 27-year-old forward will be a free agent this summer. Because he categorically rejected a premature renewal of contract the Canadians run the risk of losing him for nothing should Leonard decide to walk.
Granted, Kawhi seems to like it in Toronto and the farther the Raptors advance in the playoffs the better the chances he will stay put. If Leonard wants to build a championship legacy the Raptors are his best bet anyway. At least in the East.
Is 'The Claw' the best player in the East? Giannis Antetokounmpo would strongly disagree, but we are willing to give Kawhi a slight edge over the 'Greek Freak' because of his extensive playoff and finals experience. His outside shooting is also more reliable than that of Giannis' who is depending a lot on his unbelievable athleticism.
If you look hard enough for a team's weakness you will surely find it. In Toronto's case it could be the top heavy roster. Almost all of the Raptors production comes out of the front court manned by Leonard, Ibaka, Siakam and Gasol. The backcourt which was Toronto's strength just last year and one of the league's best could potentially become a source of trouble this post season.
With point guard Kyle Lowry running point, the Raptors have one experienced playmaker who distributes the ball to the high powered frontcourt with ease. But once Lowry sits there's a question if the Raps have the depth and talent on the guard positions to initiate the offense against pressure consistently. Ibaka, Siakam and Gasol are good players but they are not exactly known for putting the ball on the floor. They depend on the guards to get the ball to them. Backups VanFleet and Lin are solid and sometimes great, but can they be relied on a nightly basis?
Leonard on the other hand is offensively highly versatile and defensively still a one-man wrecking crew capable of disrupting the opponent's offense all by himself. The Raptors will only go as far as the 27-year-old wing player can carry them. We think that could mean the first NBA Finals in Toronto's history.
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