What a year it has been.
Here we are in August of 2020 and we have not played a single NBA postseason game yet. Well, that changes Monday as four games are slated to kick off the NBA Playoffs.
The Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors will begin their series after the conclusion of game one between the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets.
Brooklyn enters as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference and will be short-handed as they miss three of key pieces in Kevin Durant, who is still recovering from a devastating knee injury from last year’s NBA Finals, Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie, who both opted out of the Orlando bubble.
The route for the Nets is set in stone as they should be on their way out the door in four games. Caris LeVert and Joe Harris are fun players to watch and provide offensive firepower, but there is no one else on this Brooklyn team who can match with the depth of the Raptors. Brooklyn was in the bottom half of points per game allowed this season and their offense was not impressive either.
Meanwhile, the Raptors come into the playoffs with the best defense in the league and in the top half of points per game.
Unlike just two players for Brooklyn, Toronto can look at six players on their roster and say, “this guy can give us what we need to win on any given night”. I’m talking about Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, Serge Ibaka and OG Anunoby. This core of six provide a security blanket for Toronto that is unmatched from any other team in basketball. All of them averaged over 10 points per game this season and each have shown they can carry their weight when others struggle.
They have proven that Kawhi Leonard was a superstar bonus to an already stellar franchise when they won the NBA title last season. As long as Toronto can stay healthy and at least two players from the core can deliver every game this postseason, not only will the Raptors sweep this series, but they can go back-to-back as NBA champions.
Prediction: Raptors in 4