Five teams who are likely to steal the Toronto Raptors crown

Toronto Raptors (Photo by Anatoliy Cherkasov/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors (Photo by Anatoliy Cherkasov/NurPhoto via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Marc Gasol (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Philadelphia 76ers

If potential is anything to go by, then the Philadelphia 76ers could be the cream of the crop in the Eastern Conference, and maybe the whole NBA. More importantly, this group has the chance to be a historically good defense, such are the pieces on the roster.

This offseason, the Sixers added Josh Richardson and Al Horford to the fray, while sending Jimmy Butler off to the Miami Heat. That gives Philadelphia a long, and dangerous starting five. Horford will partner Joel Embiid in what is looking like a traditional frontcourt with two big men, zigging while the rest of the league is zagging.

If that combo is able to have success, then the Sixers might not be giving up too much in the paint. While Horford noticeably regressed last season with the Celtics, he won’t be asked to do nearly as much defensively as last season. The starting line-up features four potential All-NBA defensive candidates, which is startling.

Even Tobias Harris – who can be classed as the “worst defender” by default – is still an average defender at best. The question around Philadelphia is their depth, and their shooting ability. Outside of Richardson, and Harris to an extent, the Sixers starting line-up aren’t going to stretch the court and take many threes.

Overall though, this team is probably the most talented starting five in the NBA – much the same as last as last season. Will they be able to take the leap this year?

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It’s anyone’s game at this point, even the Raptors are still in with a shout. However, if anyone is going to win the title this year, it could be one of these five teams.