Ti’s Four-Point Play: Which NBA Teams Can Challenge The Warriors?

Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors are a really fun team. The backcourt tandem of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry is both endearing and very effective, and the Raptors are playing like a title team right now. There are a ton of reasons to like Toronto, but also a few that hold them back from the very top tier.

It’s hard to look at how great the Raptors are playing in this moment and not think back to last season, when Toronto also looked great in the early part of the regular season but ultimately collapsed and got swept in the first round of the playoffs.

Maybe that experience changed things for Toronto, and they’re now ready to be a serious playoff team. They’ll need to prove it by beating that talented Cavaliers team in the postseason just to earn the right to face the Warriors, which is where the real test lies.

There are other questions here too. Can a team with two guards as its best two players win a title? Can those guards both stay healthy this season? And the Raptors lacking any bench player scoring more than 8.6 points per game seems to be a potential problem down the road as well.

That all being said, there are some factors that go in the Raptors’ favor in the postseason. Teams can’t hide a poor defender at either guard position against Toronto, as either Lowry or DeRozan are more than capable than torching most players.

Plus, the home field advantage of being in another freaking country is very real. The North loves the Raptors, and the Raptors certainly love playing in the North. But without much deep playoff experience it’s hard to trust Toronto.

Next: These Old Bones