2. Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard is an upgrade over DeMar DeRozan as a lead player, and Pascal Siakam has developed into one of the better two-way players in the conference. Add in the February trade for Marc Gasol who shares the same position with Serge Ibaka, and that’s what the Bucks are looking at in this matchup.
That is certainly good enough to lead to an exceptional regular season record. However, Kyle Lowry has offered sufficient evidence of playoff underperformance to expect no different outcome with him being another year older.
Danny Green and Fred VanVleet are capable rotation players, but the team will potentially only be going 8-deep, The Bucks meanwhile have the much better problem, of too many capable players. However, who said the Bucks need to or will drastically tighten their rotation anyways? They’re doing just fine with the current one, as are the Raptors.
This would be a fascinating back and forth series, and home-court may make a difference here. If the Bucks have the higher seed, I’ll take them in seven games.
Projected Series Result: 4-3 Bucks