Just as soon as the Raptors climbed to the top of the basketball world, they came tumbling right back down. With the departure of Kawhi Leonard went all of their title hopes, and now the franchise is left to figure out what comes next.
At least, that's the way the community is looking at it. if you ask those within the Raptors organization itself, including team GM Masai Ujiri, they will tell you it's not so much a rebuild as it is just a small step backward. They still think they can win the title.
“100 percent,” Ujiri said when asked if his team could still win without Kawhi.
“I look at what this team has done and what we can learn from it. We learned how to win. And Kawhi taught us that. He brought us into that space,” Ujiri added.
The confidence is inspiring, but is it wishful thinking?
Kahwi is widely recognized as one of the top 5 best players in the league, and the best all-around 2-way star in the game. He was essential for the Raptors last season, not only with his shot-making abilities on offense but also his ability to set the tone on defense.
The team is hoping the sum of Lowry, Gasol, and Paskal Siakam will be able to make up for the lost production, but there is no telling what the result will be.