5 big takeaways in the wake of the 2019 NBA Finals

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images /
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2019 NBA Finals
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images /

5. The Raptors earned their title

It takes a little luck to win an NBA championship, and the 2018-19 Toronto Raptors were no exception. There’s no question this would’ve been a different series had Klay Thompson not gone down in the third quarter of Game 6 with what turned out to be a torn ACL, let alone had the Warriors gotten more than 12 minutes out of Kevin Durant over these six games.

With that being said, much like the 2014-15 Golden State Warriors, who beat a Cleveland Cavaliers side missing both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, nothing should take away from the Raptors’ quest to the Larry O’Brien Trophy. They earned it, and even with both Klay and KD in and out of the lineup, nobody can take away from what they achieved this season.


Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster made some gutsy decisions over the last year, and they paid off in the best way possible. Trading for a possible Kawhi Leonard rental was extremely risky, and dumping DeMar DeRozan stung a fanbase that adored him.

However, even if Kawhi does leave this summer, it was the right move; Toronto won a title. That gamble paid off, and should now make Toronto the frontrunner to re-sign him this summer. And that’s saying nothing of adding Marc Gasol at the deadline, providing Toronto with a reliable, battle-tested veteran who had terrific moments throughout this postseason run.

From Pascal Siakam‘s improbable rise to the Most Improved Player of the Year favorite to Kyle Lowry‘s long overdue vindication to Danny Green doing Danny Green things in the Finals again to Fred VanVleet becoming an infallible 3-point sniper over the last month, the 2018-19 Toronto Raptors were a fantastic, unforgettable story.

They were the better team in the Finals. They couldn’t control who was healthy on the Dubs, and they simply took care of business, locking down on the defensive end against a team that still trotted out Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green for most of the series.

You could make the case the Warriors would’ve won this series had they been healthy, but they weren’t healthy. Hypotheticals like that are worth considering, but they shouldn’t take away from the championship resolve Toronto showed time and time again in so many neck-and-neck affairs against a three-time champion.