The Basketball Thread
Could this be the year the San Antonio Spurs finally miss the playoffs?
This has to be the year the Raptors make it to the Finals - at least.
There will be no better chance. Cleveland is at its most vulnerable right now, and next year Philly will be more experienced and deeper, Boston will have Hayward back and Brown/Tatum a year better, the Bucks will have the full version of Jabari Parker to couple with Giannis while neither Lowry nor DeRozan are getting any younger.
Having said that, the number of national televised games for the Eastern Conference leaders is farcically low.
I think the Raptors have as good a shot as any non-LeBron team does of making the finals.
Though If I was betting on things I would go with the Cavs,I have no real confidence in them, but I will start believing at team from the East will unseat LeBron when and if they have a lead in a playoff series against him.
I'm in the same boat.
I love the Raptors. Always have, being from Toronto. I was at their inaugural game, and watched Mighty Mouse play. I was around when Vinsanity was the name of the game.
But LeBron is LeBron. The Cavaliers have altered their game more than substantially. You put LeBron in with a bunch of young studs, which the team has now, and he could be unstoppable. He willed victory in his second contest with Golden State.
Toronto has won the only game they played this year. Toronto is better statistically. But the Cavaliers now are different and better than the Cavaliers in January. Toronto has a shot if they keep playing inspired basketball, but that's a big 'if'.
@ganymede Time is the Cavs' issue; Kevin Love is still out, more than half the roster wasn't even wearing the same jerseys a month ago... and there are a dozen games left to play.
They need to gel, and they won't have time to. So the question becomes to what extent they manage to do so before shit gets serious in the playoffs.
No Kevin Love? No problem; LeBron has proven that.
No chemistry? No problem; LeBron has proven that.
Like, let's be frank and fair. The man's ability is otherworldly, and he turns it on during the playoffs. He's got a team of good parts now. He alone could win a series early on.
LeBron's like Tom Brady: love him or hate him, he is a game-changer that can will an entire team to victory.
Look at the Cavs team he drug to the finals in 07, if he is on for the playoffs he can make the finals. The biggest issue is if he can maintain being on for the playoffs at his age when his team will be overmatched from at least the second round on.
The biggest issue is if he can maintain being on for the playoffs at his age when his team will be overmatched from at least the second round on.
And if he remains healthy.
Look, there are problems, but the East is weak. No matter how you slice it, LeBron is still the biggest dog out there. Boston will be problematic for them, and Toronto is playing nicely. But I'm not going to bet against the Cavaliers because I watched LeBron win the 2016 finals for them.