Would the Toronto Raptors have been better than the current Clippers if Kawhi stayed?

Toronto Raptors - Serge Ibaka (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Serge Ibaka (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Norman Powell and Serge Ibaka (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Bench

The Clippers have the best sixth man in the NBA with former Raptor, Lou Williams. His scoring ability will play huge this season. Williams has the tools to take over games and tally points at will. Playing against other second units, he can shred opposing defences and force coaches to limit rest for their starters.

His fellow reserve and teammate, Montrezl Harrell, finished third in Sixth Man of the Year voting. Harrell is a physical player who competes with non-stop energy. He prides himself on being the hardest working player on the floor. Harrell averaged 16.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season — great numbers for a starter, let alone a big man.

The Clippers also traded for Harkless to play behind George. He was an important member of the Portland Trailblazers and will be missed by that franchise. The 26-year-old will bring solid defence to the Clippers second unit.

The Raptors will run back a similar bench to last season with their newest additions not figuring to usurp any roles. Toronto’s reserves will be headlined by Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, and Serge Ibaka.

That group has shown that they can outplay any other team’s reserves in the league. Their trouble is consistency. When they’re on, they have the ability to go on big runs. However, this group has also consistently lost leads and was a significant liability at points last season.

The combination of VanVleet and Ibaka can create havoc together on both ends of the floor. The pair can both make shots and Ibaka adds the dimension of being an above-average rim protector. Add in the athleticism of Powell, along with a healthy OG Anunoby, and the Raptors have a depth that few teams can match.

It happens that the Clippers are one of the teams with a better bench. It is tough to compete with the tandem of Williams and Harrell. The Clips have an edge here.

Advantage: Los Angeles Clippers