With Kawhi Leonard traded to the Toronto Raptors, everyone is abuzz about the possible new rivalry developing in the East. But it remains to be seen whether or not Kawhi is going to be healthy enough to start the season. It’s quite possible that he is not going to be able to play the first few games. This could throw off the team’s momentum in the beginning of the season.
How Do The Raptors Rank Against The Celtics?
Head coach of the Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, is heralded as one of the best basketball minds in the game. After all, last season he took a group of rookies and second-year players all the way to the division championship only to be struck down by LeBron’s Cavaliers.
Nick Nurse, the coach of the Raptors does not have quite the same reputation. But Toronto has an impressive defense with Danny Green, Kyle Lowry, and now Kawhi Leonard. And with the addition of Kawhi their offense should see some improvement as well.
But Boston still has the upper hand. With Heyward and Irving in the frontcourt they are a dynamic force. And last season we saw how Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown stepped up as well.
It’s impossible to say before the season starts which team has the advantage. Perhaps it will come down to who is more cohesive as a team unit. Or maybe just which team has the healthiest roster. After all, Kawhi can’t help his new team from the bench.
Should The Celtics Regret Losing Out On Leonard?
Along with a few other teams, the Celtics had the opportunity to acquire Leonard when he was a free agent. That would have meant shaking up their roster. There was the possible option of trading away Gordon Hayward to get Leonard or perhaps a deal with a couple of their younger players on the rise. But guys like Tatum and Brown are essential to what they Celtics are building. They don’t have the experience yet but are stars in the making. Their salaries are still low, much lower than Leonard’s. With older talent like Hayward around, the Celtics can build a strong team with a championship future.
Who Is The Best Team In The East?
With LeBron gone from Cleveland the best three teams in the East this year are likely to be the Raptors, Celtics, and 76ers. As things stand now the Celtics look to be the favorite. They have amazing depth, one of the best coaches in basketball, and Hayward and Irving are going to be back and ready to lead their team to a championship.
The 76ers are looking forward to the future, building a young team that has promise. It’s quite possible they’re a force to be reckoned with in coming years, but for this season they might be a bit to green to make too much a splash.
Toronto’s hope and dreams rest on the shoulders of their new star Kawhi Leonard. With a healthy Leonard, the Raptors stand the chance to put together a strong enough team break through the East and rival the Rocket or Warriors in the finals.
Does A Team From The East Really Have A Shot?
The Golden State Warriors have made it to the finals four years in a row now. And amazingly they’ve come home with the title three of those times. James Harding and the Rockets are always a in contention and now with LeBron out in L.A joining the likes of Lonzo Ball and the Lakers, is it possible for a team from the East to make things interesting?
Again, it comes back to Toronto and Boston. But their young guys really have to perform. It’s no surprise when Curry or Harding comes out and has the game of a lifetime. In fact, it’s expected. These younger guys are a little more unpredictable.
However, it’s no question that in general, the West is the stronger division. This means that all season long the Western powerhouses have to go head to head, day in and day, while teams like Boston and Toronto have easier regular season competition. So come playoff time, teams from the East may be more rested.
But the playoffs are a different animal entirely. Everyone knows about LeBron was able to turn on the magic come post season time. The East be more rested when it counts but the experience level is definitely on the side of the West. And it’s hard to make up for experience.