The NBA is incredible in terms of the extremely high level of competition that it forces teams to deal with in the post-season. A 7-game series against the same opponents can be quite the challenge for teams as the games wear on. If a team is well-prepared for these situations, then they succeed.
The 2018 Toronto Raptors were considered the favorites in the Eastern Conference after a tough year for the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers. The team tried their best to prepare themselves for the Eastern Conference playoff run, as revealed by former Raptors player Lucas 'Bebe' Nogueira.
Nogueira shared the scouting report for LeBron and the Washington Wizards backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal, giving an inside look at how the teams analyzed the players ahead of their matchups. The Raptors got past Washington but fell to LeBron and the Cavaliers after.
For James, there's not much to critique. He was considered a "good" ball handler in pick-and-roll situations and "excellent" as the screener who popped twice as often as he rolled, per the report. He was "elite" at finishing near the rim but an "average" mid-range shooter. Similarly, he was "good" as a three-point shooter off-the-dribble but just "average" in catch-and-shoot opportunities and much better shooting to his left compared to his right. He was an "excellent" shooter on the drive but an "average" passer while driving. Defensively, the Raptors considered him "below average" defending the ball handler or screener in pick-and-roll situations. (h/t Sports Illustrated)
For Beal and Wall, the reports recognized that Beal was offensively potent, calling him above average at every aspect of scoring the ball. He's a much better isolation player now than the 'average' player Toronto thought he was in 2018 in those situations. For Wall, it proves that the Wizards' point guard struggled to shoot the ball and that the Raptors were going to lean into a strategy to get him to shoot and not drive.
Looking at actual NBA scouting reports for players in playoff games seems quite incredible. It also goes to verify the assumptions we all have made about players by watching them play over the years. These players play differently now, but if a coach had to make game plans for these players in 2018, there really isn't much else they could have added.