The Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors are still poised to rack up a lot of wins even without the service of All-Star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant next season, according to a panel of analysts on NBA.com.

On Wednesday, NBA.com posted an article revealing the win projections of NBA writers Steve Aschburner, Shaun Powell, John Schuhmann and Sekou Smith for last season’s NBA finalists.

Forecast for NBA Finalists

Surprisingly, all four NBA scribes think both teams will still be formidable next season despite losing their key stars to free agency (Leonard taking his talent with the Clippers and Kevin Durant joining Kyrie Irving with the Brooklyn Nets).

The Raptors, who are expected to predicate their offense around rising star Pascal Siakam next season, are projected to finish in the range of 42-43 wins for Aschburner, 48-50 for Powell, 46-50 for Schuhmann, and 47-50 for Smith.

The Warriors, who replaced Durant with All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell, will still be a force in the West in the eyes of NBA writers. The Dubs are projected to finish in the range of 45-47 wins for Aschburner, 47 wins for Powell, 46-50 for Schuhmann and 48 wins for Smith.

Of all the four writers, Sekou Smith provided the best reasons why the Raptors and Warriors will still make things tougher for other NBA teams, including the so-called cream of the crop.

“Even with Kawhi Leonard having for the Western Conference, the Toronto Raptors will have enough to be one of the more formidable teams in the Eastern Conference. A 47-50 win season is a reasonable expectation for the reigning champs, who should be a bunch toughened up by the things they experienced during their championship run.” Smith writes.

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Recapping the Road to the title

The Raptors finished the 2018-19 season with 58 wins, securing the No.2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Toronto eliminated the Orlando Magic in five games, the Philadelphia 76ers in seven games (thanks to Kawhi Leonard’s memorable four-bounce game-winner), and the No.1 Milwaukee Bucks in six games to reach their first-ever NBA finals.

The Warriors, meanwhile, topped the Western Conference with a 57-25 record, three games cleared off No.2 seed Denver Nuggets.

Golden State survived the Los Angeles Clippers in six games, Houston Rockets in six games, and Portland Trail Blazers in four games despite Durant being sidelined with a calf injury.

In the NBA finals, the Raptors entered the series as the underdogs, but a strong performance from Leonard and his supporting cast cleared any doubt that the series would be an easy one in favor of the Warriors.

Of course, the championship series took a dramatic turn when Durant re-aggravated his calf resulting in a torn Achilles injury in Game 5. Toronto finally got the job done in Game 6, officially ending the Warriors’ dynasty in the last NBA game at Oracle Arena.

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