Last year, Kawhi Leonard did something no other player has ever done: lead the Toronto Raptors to an NBA Championship. And while his team was deep, experienced, and very talented, nobody was expecting very much out of them when Leonard left to join the Clippers this past summer.
Interestingly enough, however, the Raptors haven’t lost a step this season. In the aftermath of Kawhi’s departure, they are 2nd in the East with a 40-14 record and in the midst of an impressive 15-game winning streak.
Their shocking dominance has begged the question: would he have been better of staying? In a discussion on ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman argued over whether or not Kawhi would have a better shot winning the title this season with Toronto than with the Clippers in L.A.
Max, who says his chances would be better in Toronto, illustrates the simple fact that the East is easier. Realistically, only the Bucks would pose a serious threat to a Kawhi-led Raptors team compared to the West, where the Clippers have to compete against the Lakers, Rockets, Jazz, and Nuggets.
Stephen A. argues that while the path is easier, the Clippers are a much deeper team. The roster, which is composed of George, Beverley, Morris, Williams, and Harrell may be the deepest and most talented in the league.
In the end, we’ll never know the answer to this impossible question. We’ll only have the result of this current season as a hint.