There is an argument to be made that the Raptors had the best chance of challenging the Golden State Warriors last season. However, they couldn’t get through LeBron James, their physical and psychological bugaboo and we never really got to see it manifest. On paper, they have everything you’d want to climb to the top spot in these rankings — an MVP-level leader (assuming Kawhi can get back to that level), a secondary creator capable of becoming primary when Kawhi is off (Kyle Lowry), shooting at every position, the depth to sustain a long regular season and the defensive versatility to absorb all sorts of matchups.
We’ve never really had the chance to see what the Raptors ceiling is because LeBron James has always been there throwing plywood on top of them. Kawhi Leonard makes them, theoretically, as good as any non-Warriors team in the league. Now we get to see if they can live up to it.