Over the past few seasons, the Toronto Raptors have had a lot of success. Since 2015, they have put together three straight seasons of 50 plus wins or more, an Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 2016, and a franchise-best 59 wins this season, which was the best record in the Eastern Conference.
With all that success, the Raptors have to break through and get to the NBA Finals. And the way things look in the Eastern Conference, this season, 2018 seems like the right time to do it.
The two teams that were expected to battle it out for Eastern Conference supremacy are not the same. Cleveland has the one man Toronto has no answer for and that’s LeBron James, but this year’s Cavs team is very beatable. While the Celtics, who are the second-seed in the Eastern Conference, had all the makings of a team that could get to the Finals before Kyrie Irving was ruled out for the playoffs with a knee injury.
However, here’s the real reason why the Raptors need to get to the Finals this year. The Philadelphia 76ers are coming. They have a young nucleus in Joel Embiid, 24, Ben Simmons, 21, Dario Saric, 24, and Markelle Fultz, 19. Philly won 52 games this season, and are ahead of schedule. Plus, according to Spotrac.com, they will have close to $30 million in cap space and a potential lottery pick(If Lakers pick is 1, or below pick 5) this summer, which could make them appealing to a certain King in Cleveland. Based on the way they are playing right now, Philly is going to be a tough out in these playoffs.
Also, the Boston Celtics are going to be another team that will be tough to beat moving forward. They have Irving and Gordon Hayward coming back next season. Plus, they have young studs in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and they have the possibility of getting a top-five pick(Lakers pick via trade if it is 2-5) in the 2018 NBA Draft.
The Celtics and the 76ers look like they will be fixtures at the top of the Eastern Conference for years to come. We might have a 1980’s remix when the 76ers and Celtics battled it out during that decade.
With Cleveland struggling, and Boston depleted due to injuries. The time is now for Toronto. Plus, their two best players DeMar DeRozan, 28, and Kyle Lowry, 32, are not getting any younger. So, If Toronto does not get to the NBA Finals this year, they may not ever get there for years to come.