1. Boston Celtics
The Celtics made one of the best trades of the entire offseason when they acquired Malcolm Brogdon from the Pacers for a bunch of scraps. With arguably the league’s best defense and the 1-2 punch of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Ime Udoka’s squad will be out for blood.
The Celtics getting thrown in the Kevin Durant mix will only make things more difficult for the Raptors. Even without such a seismic move, even the staunchest Toronto fan must concede that Boston will arrive as the top team in the conference to start the season.
The Toronto Raptors are behind the Boston Celtics.
The Raptors were able to beat Boston down in their building early in the season, but that was before they had perfect Udoka’s defense and made a flurry of moves at the deadline. As it stands right now, the Celtics are a tier or two above Toronto.
That could change in the near future if the Raptors continue to make positive strides. It will take names like Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam going beyond the lofty standards they set for themselves last year, but that’s simply the price it will take to compete with Boston.