In the 2019 NBA Finals, fans got to witness a great matchup between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors. Although the Raptors won the series, many still believe if the Warriors were at their full strength the outcome could have been different.
The series went to six games, but the Dubs lost Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson mid-series and arguably tilted it in favor of Kawhi and co. Even today, many still wonder if KD and Klay weren't injured, they would have helped the Warriors win the 2019 NBA Championship.
Perhaps even without Thompson, GSW wouldn't have that much issue in dealing with the 2019 Raptors. Speaking of the 2019 Raptors, Fred VanVleet played a crucial role in helping his team lift the NBA Championship.
The Raptors point guard recently sat down for a talk with none other than Draymond Green. During the podcast, VanVleet made a pretty huge claim. He believes that the Raptors were a much better team than the Durant-less Warriors.
"I just remember being in the locker room before Game 5 and there was a little buzz like 'when is he coming back?' there were whispers that he was going to play. I felt like he was going to play, if he was close enough to play we knew he was going to try it out. I just remember the conversation like 'alright he's coming back, we're going to go at him, we're going to see what he's got.' He came out and hit the first four shots and I remember I was like 'damn, this dude is special."
He objected when Green said only Klay would have been enough, "I don't agree with that, but at the same time, I can see that argument. Klay in those Game 6s, he's got a super catalog of those crazy games where it's hard to beat him. I felt like we were a much better team than y'all without Kevin because we had the depth and there were certain matchups that we can pick on and some of the guys you guys were playing in those moments we weren't used to seeing from the Warriors dynasty ... We had certain things that we were hunting for in specific situations. But who knows, nobody will ever know. Y'all could argue that for the rest of your life."
As VanVleet mentioned, Durant is certainly a special player and if the Warriors had him from the start of the series, the result could have been different.
At the end of the day, this is one of the biggest what-ifs in NBA history. Unfortunately, there is no way that we can get the right answer to it right now.