By: Lucas Kochevar
The Raptors sit atop the East as they have had a tremendous year with DeMar DeRozan playing at a superstar level alongside his running mate Kyle Lowry. They also have players that fill out the starting lineup, such as Serge Ibaka and his shot blocking ability and Jonas Valanciunas and his scoring down in the post. The bench has also done their job with young role players like Fred Van Fleet and Jakob Poetl. A big boost to their bench has been C.J. Miles. His 3 and D style of play has really added a true threat to their bench.
The question, however, is whether or not they can perform in the playoffs?
History has not been kind to the Raptors in the playoffs. They have clinched the playoffs the last three years, but these were the results:
The Raptors look like a changed team compared to the last couple of Raptors teams. The East is also much more favorable with a Celtics team that has struggled as of late and a Cavaliers team that is still trying to click after stripping their roster down. The Raptors have all the pieces put together and they remind me of the 2015 Hawks. They are fun to watch and are very deep with their roster. The problem is that they still have to go through LeBron, like the 2015 Hawks. These Raptors are loaded and they should finish out the season strong, but be careful in trusting them. Toronto's season will be very disappointing if it ends in anything less than a Conference Finals berth. These Raptors are contenders in the East, but they certainly have no chance in them contending in a best-of-7 playoff series against the Warriors, Rockets, or even the Spurs.