Charles Barkley has the Toronto Raptors winning the East
The Toronto Raptors have been a good team for the past few years. With Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan at the helm, the Raptors have established themselves as an Eastern Conference powerhouse even though they haven’t really sustained any postseason success in their brief run atop the Eastern Conference and have essentially failed to live up to their championship expectations thanks to a guy named LeBron James.
In 2016, the Raptors fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals 4-2. Surprisingly, the Raptors got swept by the Cavaliers again last year, setting off a bit of an outrage around the whole organization. This prompted a cryptic response from Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri, explaining that the Raptors needed a “cultural reset”, according to AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today.
“After that performance, we need a culture reset here,” Ujiri said at his end-of-season press conference Tuesday. “We need to figure it out. Yeah, there’s been some success, but at the end of the day, we’re trying to win a championship here. To me, making the playoffs is nothing. That’s back in the day. Now, we have to figure out how we can win in the playoffs. That’s the goal.”
Apparently, this warning worked well for the Raptors this season. The Raptors are currently the best team in the Eastern Conference this season, and they are becoming serious favorites to possibly win the East this year. At least, that’s what Charles Barkley thinks.
"The Toronto Raptors are going to win the Eastern Conference."
You agree with Chuckster? 👀 pic.twitter.com/x440FzCeUH
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) March 9, 2018
Talk about a bold take. Usually, it’s a fool’s errand to bet against LeBron James in the East even though Barkley is no stranger at making bold proclamations such as these in the past. The Raptors have a serious chance to win the Eastern Conference, but they’ll have to defeat the Cavaliers and Celtics before they can do so. Even then, they’ll have to take on the Western Conference champion, who very well might end up being the Warriors.