Preseason NBA Power Rankings: Philadelphia 76ers look like Eastern Elite

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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NBA Power Rankings
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5. Toronto Raptors

For all we know the Toronto Raptors could be picking first overall in the 2020 NBA Draft, as they just pulled off one of the riskiest trades this century that could trigger an all-out ground up rebuild with ease, but in 2018-2019, it’s hard not to place the team among the East’s best teams.

Sure, they lost arguably the most popular player in franchise history and the reigning NBA Coach of the Year award winner, but the Raptors added a pair of supremely talented two-way wingers who could conceivably cover 1-5 across the board while also knocking down a bunch of threes.

A roster practically tailor-made to defeat a team like the Philadelphia 76ers and their point forward wonder Ben Simmons.

With Kyle Lowery still running the point, and some extended opportunities to play off-ball as a sharpshooter from outside, new head coach Nick Nurse‘s squad is flush with talent at every position, sometimes two or three players deep, and will certainly stake their claim for the rights to be called the best team in the conference.

However, in my opinion, there are still four teams, including two in the Eastern Conference, who are better than the Raptors on paper.

While the Kawhi Leonard experiment could go exceptionally well, and provide the team with a major upgrade of DeMar DeRozan for the forthcoming season, it’s totally possible that the team could regress thanks to their new facelift and Kawhi could be on a plane to LA at the trade deadline in exchange for a discounted package of Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and a future first round pick

The 2018 calendar year will tell us a lot about the Raptors and just how solid their foundation is moving forward.