Most Improved Player Pascal Siakam had little to say about former teammate Kawhi Leonard and his departure from the Toronto Raptors after one year of service, instead claiming his team is still the defending champions, living up every ounce of glory through the course of this summer:
“We’re still the champs right now, so I’m still enjoying that,” Siakam told TMZ Sports. “Imma figure out next season, next season.”
“It’s the NBA … sh*t happens. It’s the NBA. It’s a business.”
For what it’s worth, the Raptors were ranked as a top-10 team in the league by the recent ESPN power rankings, a placement some found laughable after Leonard’s departure and no significant additions to the roster:
Only three Eastern Conference teams — the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics — stand atop the Raptors in this ranking, one that somehow closely resembles last season’s preseason power rankings.
The Raptors might face a wave of mutilation after Leonard’s departure, now with three expiring contracts in Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka on the roster. While Siakam’s future is likely set in stone as the new heir of this franchise, the rest of the roster could soon crumble down if this team hopes to rebuild and get younger after winning its first-ever title 24 years since its inception.