Give N’ Go Podcast S3E5

We’ve got a very special guest on today’s Podcast! The one and only Dray here to announce the launch of BasketBrawlers.ca.

Also, we cover a number of huge NBA topics such as:

  • Rondo vs Ray Allen BEEF! (4:25)
  • NBA Hall of Fame Inductions (11:45)
  • Followed by another segment of Believe the Hype… or not your type? (19:26)
  • Will Kawhi Leonard stay in Toronto (20:00)
  • Will Ben Simmons come back with a 3-point shot after breaking the Kardashian Curse? (25:05)
  • Will Carmelo Anthony accept a bench role? (33:00)
  • Will this be Anthony Davis’ last season with the Pelicans? (33:00)
  • Are the newly formed “Timber-Bulls” legit? (37:14)
  • Will the young Lakers crumble under the pressure of LeBron James? (42:20)
  • Devin Booker’s mysterious hand injury (47:00)

Tune in, let us know what you think, and most importantly…
.. LETS GIVE N’GO!

Can the Raptors win the East…Kawhi not?

With everything finalized, Raptor fans are starting to feel the reality of the blockbuster trade featuring Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan. The actual trade will exchange Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a 2019 pick between San Antonio and Toronto, but everyone is rightfully focused on Kawhi. At the onset of the 2017/2018 season, Kawhi was still one of the most quiet, least dramatic sports athletes of all time on a consistently drama-free franchise. If you had told a basketball fan back then where we are today, I don’t think anyone would of believed you. But alas, here we are. Now that the shock is starting to wear off, it’s time to start looking at the 2018/2019 season and who will seize the opportunity to win the East now that LeBron James has gone to the LA Lakers.

After an embarrassing sweep of the Raptors in the conference semi-finals by a mediocre Cleveland Cavaliers team, every Raptors fan knew that something had to change. Given that Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Jonas Valančiūnas have (had) monster contracts through the 2019-2020 season, there wasn’t much flexibility for Masai.

Player2018-20192019-2020
Kyle Lowry$31,000,000$33,296,296
DeMar DeRozan$27,739,975$27,739,975
Serge Ibaka$21,666,667$23,271,604
Jonas Valančiūnas$16,539,326$17,617,977

Even though they opted to fire the Coach of the Year Dwayne Casey to mix things up, the Raptors were clearly not done. The Raptors are going all in on the 2018-2019 season with Kawhi having one year remaining on his contract. They are already hopeful they’ll re-sign him beyond that, but the allure of the West coast and LeBron James might be too much to pass up in his upcoming free agency. It seems all small market teams are looking at the Paul George signing as evidence that it can be worth it to secure a big fish for the last year of a contract. Playoff P was basically a done deal going to LA but changed his mind after playing with Russel Westbrook for a season. He’s now gone as far as buying a house in Toronto; however, you would think that Kawhi would need to see some success before he entertains the idea of staying in the North long term…which brings us to the question: who has the best shot of making it out of the East?

It’s impossible to disregard what the Boston Celtics did this year. Under the tutelage and system of Brad Stevens, a team of inexperienced children brimming with raw talent took the King to a game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. If you add two bonafide all-stars named Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to the mix, it’s not hard to see them in the NBA finals next June. You can argue that Philadelphia is on the upswing and is a force to be reckoned with in much of the same way that Boston is, but personally I’ll give the edge to team with Stevens and two of the returning top-tier talents in the league.

So where does that leave Toronto? The players proved last year that they are willing to buy-in to a new system if it brings them success, but will new coach Nick Nurse be up to the challenge? Coaching positions are as volatile as they’ve ever been in the NBA these days and if the Raptors go out early in the 2019 playoffs and need to do something to prove to Kawhi they’re still moving forward, I for one wouldn’t feel that comfortable if I was the coach. The other aspect to this is his physical health. Without diving into the details of the Kawhi drama, the Raps need to know if the main reason he wasn’t playing was because of his injury or the deteriorated relationship between him and his team. Oddly enough, Toronto fans are probably hoping for the latter.

With all of this swirling around it looks like we’ll have yet another entertaining off-season. What’s most exciting is that the Basketbrawlers may witness the newest Raptor playing against Damian Lillard and the Portland Trailblazers in Vancouver during the annual pre-season match-up. Be sure to stay tuned for any other news that comes up between now and then as well.