NBA Moves Before the Season Starts
The NBA season officially starts tomorrow and teams were getting last minute tasks done. See what went down hours before the NBA season kicked off.
The NBA season is roughly three months away, so there's plenty of time for new Raptors coach Nick Nurse to mold his recently redesigned Raptors squad to be the true beast in the East. Let's assume Kawhi Leonard is healthy and plays like a motivated superstar this season, he'll be leading a full 180 degree shift in this Raptors team.
Kawhi Leonard, even at half strength, is easily the better defender out of him and DeMar DeRozan. Now slot Kawhi Leonard next to up and coming OG Anunoby and Toronto could easily boast having the best perimeter defensive duo in the league. Throw in the ever pesky Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Danny Green, and Pascal Siakam and Toronto could have the best defense in the league by miles. Toronto has a squad that could defend any team in the NBA and even lock down the offensive juggernauts in the West; every player they have can switch onto multiple positions and has the pure defensive talent to lock down their own man.
Toronto's bench last year was good enough to start for some teams and they barely took a hit to land Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. I mean look at this roster depth:
PG: Kyle Lowry/Fred VanVleet/Lorenzo Brown
SG: Danny Green/Delon Wright/Norman Powell
SF: Kawhi Leonard/C.J. Miles/Malachi Richardson
PF: Serge Ibaka/OG Anunoby
C: Jonas Valanciunas/Pascal Siakam
There's a mix of up and coming studs like OG Anunoby, perennial All Stars like Kyle Lowry, defensive juggernauts like Serge Ibaka, and perfect role players such a Van Vleet and CJ Miles. This squad is deep is ready to go match up with any other Eastern Conference team.
Kawhi Leonard is the better offensive player when compared to DeMar. While DeMar's numbers are higher, Kawhi is more efficient and a much better shooter from deep. This Raptors squad will be a work in progress on the offensive end for sure, but there will be much better spacing this year as compared to last. The ability to put an entire 5 man squad of threats from deep is easily possible with Toronto and I'm sure getting good shots from deep will be a key part of Coach Nick's offense.
The Eastern Conference is pretty top heavy, just like the West. Does a Kyle Lowry - Kawhi Leonard duo beat an okay Wizards team? Yes. A very scrappy Indiana Pacers team? Probably. Until we see Kawhi actually play though, it's far too soon to say this Raptors team could beat the up and coming 76ers or a fully healthy and over powered Celtics squad.