Shockingly, the Raptors held their ground in the aftermath of Kawhi’s departure. After winning the NBA Championship in an upset of Golden State, the Raptors thought they had things all figured out before their best player just up and left about a month later.
Instead of starting the rebuild that seemed inevitable, they counted their losses and re-grouped. Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry were given the keys to the franchise and are being asked to make something of a roster who still has to re-discover their identity.
“I wasn’t surprised that they (won the title), they were a really good team. Anytime you have the team that they had and then they added Marc Gasol halfway through the year, you know they’d be really good,” D’Antoni said, via Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.
“They’re one of the teams again, that even without Kawhi Leonard will be contending for a title. They have a lot of players that can play. Now, will it be harder? Maybe. Kawhi is obviously Kawhi, but they’ll still be one of the top teams (in the NBA).”
With Leonard, the Raptors were able to accomplish the impossible. Without him, nobody really knows what to expect.
With guys like Gasol, Lowry, Ibaka, and VanVleet, the Raps have quality veteran stars that most teams would die for. In Siakam, they have their “star” of the future and the next face of their franchise.
Will it really be enough to compete?