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Serge Ibaka thinks people are sleeping on Raptors entering the season

Raptors, Serge Ibaka

The Toronto Raptors enjoyed a fantastic 2018-19 NBA campaign, culminating with their first championship in franchise history. This season, however, the team will be without the star that drove them, as Kawhi Leonard joined the Clippers over the summer. Despite this loss, Serge Ibaka says the Raptors are “still good.”

Leonard wasn’t the only player the Raptors lost this summer, as Danny Green decided to join LeBron James and the Lakers. There were a few good bits of news, though. Marc Gasol picked up his player option to return and the team resigned Patrick McCaw. Toronto also picked up a couple of young wings in Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

The Raptors’ biggest move of the offseason may have been the signing of Kyle Lowry to a one-year extension. Pascal Siakam, a player who Toronto is high on, also signed a four-year, $130 million deal.

Last season, the Raptors finished with a 58-24 overall record, which earned them a No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. ESPN is projecting 45 wins for Toronto this season, though other sites have the team with 50 or more.

Ibaka played a key role in Toronto’s success last season. The 30-year-old forward made 74 appearances (51 starts), racking up averages of 15.0 points on 52.9 percent shooting from the field (29.0 percent from beyond the arc), 8.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.4 blocks in 27.2 minutes per outing.

Will the Raptors be competitive with their large, expiring contracts? Or will they look to rebuild around Siakam and other young players? After all, they are the defending champions. Let’s see if they can hold that crown.