Tier 5: Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs
It feels weird that teams are actually not in the playoffs in the first place, given the talent they have. But anyway, all of these teams should be teams that the Raptors should beat, but then again we never know. The Pelicans have Zion, the Blazers still have Lillard, the Spurs have Popovich, and the Kings have been disappointing.
No one would’ve expected the Blazers to be this low in the standings, but here we are. They have faced many injuries, including a long stretch without Lillard, and have played the whole season without Jusuf Nurkić. But I think they’ll be better than expected come playoff time.
Nurkić was actually set to return in mid-March before the whole season was halted and if he does join the team in time healthy, then that is a huge gain for the Blazers. Another power forward/center that was gone for the majority of the season was Zach Collins, who can also come back in time for the playoffs.
Suddenly a team with no frontcourt presence is rejuvenated with the return of Nurkić and Collins. The last thing the Raptors should want to see is a well-rested Lillard with an actual team at his disposal and not Mario Hezonja.
San Antonio Spurs
I don’t think the Spurs should be a problem. They play a very old fashion of basketball and have a lead the league in shots from mid-range with a way too high 41.7 percent — the second closest is 36 percent.
The only thing I’d be scared is here is that it is coached by Gregg Popovich and DeRozan might want his revenge.
Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans
These are two very young teams that should produce very entertaining games if the Toronto Raptors face them. The Toronto Raptors have too much experience to let two young teams like this beat them.