3 reasons Raptors could be East favorites with Kevin Durant

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 07: Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets drives on Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 07: Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets drives on Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors, Kevin Durant
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 14: Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles as Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors defends (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have themselves set up nicely for success in the future, thanks to their strong starting five and potential for rapid growth. However, Masai Ujiri could supercharge that rebuilding effort if they manage to acquire Kevin Durant via trade with the Brooklyn Nets.

The Raptors have reportedly not offered Scottie Barnes in trade talks, though they remain firmly among Durant’s top suitors. With Phoenix unable to send Deandre Ayton in a deal until January 15, one of KD’s best suitors has officially decided to bow out of the fray.

The Raptors face long odds to acquiring him, considering the mountain of prized assets that need to be dangled in front of Brooklyn’s face even to get them interested. However, they appear to be keeping their name in the ring. They might outlast all of their competition and end up with Durant.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Toronto can acquire Durant without trading Barnes, Pascal Siakam, or Fred VanVleet. If they can somehow bring him to Toronto without trading any of their stars, Toronto should shoot right up to the top of the contention charts.

3 reasons the Toronto Raptors will contend with Kevin Durant.

3. KD’s game-changing offensive skill

The parallels between trading for Durant and getting Kawhi Leonard are brought up frequently for good reason. Leonard might not be an all-time great scorer, but he was still able to singlehandedly take over games with his blend of sweet shooting and dominant finishing. Imagine what KD could do.

Even considering his age and injury history, Durant is still a viable 50-40-90 threat as a scorer who could contend for a scoring title. With Siakam, Barnes, and VanVleet all able to be successful without the ball in their hands for extended periods, they could be solid secondary players alongside Durant.

The Toronto Raptors could lean on Kevin Durant.

The fact that Durant was still able to average almost 30 points per game with his co-stars often injured and Steve Nash’s offensive system raising many questions about the efficacy of his philosophy is fantastic. Putting him in Nick Nurse’s system could supercharge the Toronto attack.

Imagine a player like VanVleet, a tremendous shooter and All-Star player, being the fourth scoring option in some games. Durant, Siakam, and Barnes would be one of the best frontcourt scoring combinations in NBA history. They should pulverize the rest of the conference if they are firing on all cylinders.