Unbelievably, the Raptors are about to commence a playoff series. in the year of our lord 2017, against the likes of Deron Williams and Richard Jefferson. The former, you'll recall, was involved in the Raptors infamous 7-game showdown with the Brooklyn Nets, and seemed not long for this world shortly afterwards. The latter, at this point, can be deemed a science experiment gone wrong. There's no way either should still be attempting to thwart the Raptors right now.
And yet, here we are. LeBron James, the King of the East, has reloaded his Cavaliers roster with a suite of veterans -- and it just so happens that Williams and Jefferson get to come along for the ride. Is Cleveland's frontcourt weak? Sure, but LeBron can play the 4 or the 5 in a pinch. Do they need more playmaking help? Perhaps, but LeBron can handle the ball in important situations. Yes, Jefferson and Williams are there too; but in all things, LeBron is the bottom line.
I don't meant to centre this discussion purely on Jefferson and Williams; they just happen to be the greatest recipients of LeBron's aura this time around. (In years past the group has included names like Chris Anderson, Mario Chalmers, Daniel Gibson, and Antawn Jamison. They too got to stand close to the King.) This is the thing about LeBron's legacy that I'll always remember. He's played for some truly fearsome squads -- but then he also dragged a team that featured a backcourt of the ancient Eric Snow and incomparable Larry Hughes to the NBA Finals. I mean, good lord.
No reveals have come as to what lineups the Cavaliers and Raptors will use in tonight's game. All coach Dwane Casey has mentioned is "we'll see," followed by a wink. The Raptors will probably go back to their usual starting lineup with Jonas Valanciunas in at centre. Norman Powell may not even find minutes. We don't know what kind of offensive production Toronto will get from Kyle Lowry, despite the other positives his presence brings. If there's anxiety to be found, it's here.
And the Cavaliers, well, why should they change a thing? They're still the far and away title favourites. They still have LeBron. And look at that, there are Deron Williams and Richard Jefferson, both ready and able, somehow, to help out. I can't believe it.
Here's the preview from Sean Woodley on tonight's Game 1. We've also got our poll, which ends in 30 minutes, asking for your prediction.
Now, let's get over to the comments section and watch.