Are the Toronto Raptors the greatest one-and-done team ever?

Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Toronto Raptors

The current-and-defending NBA champions are now most definitely in the category of one-and-done, due to the nature of the 2019 offseason.

Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green arrived in Toronto in a cloud of mystery in the summer of 2018. Both players were free agents at the end of the season and their futures were most definitely in doubt.

The rumblings around the league were that Leonard had eyes for Los Angeles, a tarot card reading that was later determined to be true. The Raptors knew that the talent they had on the roster, combined with the acquisitions of Green and Leonard, and later Marc Gasol, would be enough to contend for a title.

Standing in their way would be the dynastic Golden State Warriors, on the brink of winning their fourth title in five years.

The Raptors stumbled in the opening game of the first round, losing to the Orlando Magic before winning the next four games in convincing fashion. The next round proved to be hell for the Raptors, taking on the uber-talented Philadelphia 76ers. It took seven games and the first-ever Game 7 buzzer-beater in NBA history to take down the Sixers. If that game had gone to overtime, there’s no telling what might have been.

Next up was the first-seed Milwaukee Bucks, led by the soon-to-be MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks had won 60 games and were viewed as a shoo-in against the Raptors. So much so, they took a two-game lead in the series and most analysts called game.

Not the Raptors, though. They fought back to win the next four games, including Game 5 on the road in Milwaukee. Once again, the Raptors had defied the odds.

The Finals against the Warriors proved to be tumultuous at the very least, and people may put an asterisk beside the Raptors win due to the injuries sustained to Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, but the Warriors were more than any formidable foe. They were the greatest dynasty in NBA history and the Raptors toppled them in six games.

What happened next was what half of the NBA saw coming. Kawhi Leonard left the Raptors to move to L.A. Though, not many people expected him to wind up with the Los Angeles Clippers. With the star power of Leonard – the best player in the NBA right now – gone, the Raptors are no longer viable contenders.