I already talked about the Raptors in my Total Wins tip so read that if you want a longer preview. However the question is why backing a team that failed so many times in the playoffs to win the Eastern Conference Finals. Well, the answer is pretty simple: they replaced Demar Derozan with Kawhi Leonard. Derozan is a great scorer(especially in the regular season) but he is nowhere close to Kawhi Leonard in my opinion. The former Spurs player is a very good scorer too but he is also the best perimeter defender in the league. He proved that he can be clutch in the playoffs too winning the NBA Finals MVP when he was only 22 years old.(second youngest player to get that award)
The Raptors had 1 big problem in the playoffs in recent years and that was Lebron James. Everytime they clashed with Lebron team they were eliminated easily. This won’t be a problem this year because The King is now gone to the Western Conference.
The main opponents for the East are the Celtics, the 76’ers and the Bucks . I really like the matchups with all this teams. Leonard and even sophomore Anouby are great wing defenders that can take shifts defending Simmons(76’ers) and Giannis(Bucks). The Raptors also have enough good defensive wings to match the many talented wings the Celtics have. Anouby, Leonard , Siakam and Green can defend Tatum, Hayward or Brown. Meanwhile their pointguards Lowry and Fan Vleet can both give problems to Celtics star Irving with their agressive defense.