The Cavs completed a sweep of the Raptors on Sunday evening in Toronto, earning a second straight sweep this playoffs and earning a full week off before the start of the Eastern Conference Finals. It’s the second straight year that the Cavs have ended the Raptors season in emphatic fashion and this time, the Raptors head into the offseason with lots of uncertainty about the future.
With Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and others up for free agency next year, Toronto has to decide how to proceed. This core, as it’s constructed, does not appear to have what it takes to handle the Cavs, but there aren’t lots of options for improvement this offseason on the free agent market, which means to really shake things up Toronto would likely need to hit the reset button.
Having given DeMar DeRozan a max contract last season, that makes a full rebuild difficult, but DeRozan and the rest of the Raptors know there has to be significant improvement going into next year.
DeRozan and Corey Joseph were the Raptors selections to go to the podium after Game 4, and DeRozan was asked about comments coach Dwayne Casey made about the series possibly going different if Toronto would have had more time to prepare for the Cavs after the first round. Having just been swept in four games that were all decided by seven or more points — the first three by double digits — DeRozan wasn’t really in the mood to deal with hypotheticals.
“Coach said that, maybe if you guys had a little more time things might’ve been different,” the reporter asked. “Do you feel as though that might have been the issue?”
“If we had LeBron on our team too, we would’ve won,” said an exasperated DeRozan. “We can say that all day. Time, everything, but we didn’t. It happened. We got swept and it’s going to be one of them long summers for us.”
First off, the quote is true. If you put LeBron on most any playoff team in the East, that team would most likely win the conference. It’s also, in full context, not the quote many will take it as. He wasn’t lamenting not having LeBron, but simply stating that you can’t make excuses for preparation or personnel or anything when you get beaten that soundly and swept that easily.