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How many wins for the Raptors this season? How many for the Warriors?
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Steve Aschburner: Toronto was 17-5 on the nights Kawhi Leonard did not play last season, but selectively choosing his absences is different from enduring them across all 82 games. Golden State was 1-0 when playing without both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, a throwaway of No. 81 that offers no insight into how the Warriors will fare without the former at all in 2019-20 and the latter for a good chunk of the schedule. I think both teams are wired to top .500, though, and make the playoffs as lower seeds -- the Warriors winning 45-47 times and the Raptors around 42-43 victories (assuming they don’t pull the plug by the trade deadline).
Shaun Powell: The East isn't exactly loaded, so even without Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors should knock on the door of 50 wins (but let's put them a few short, say 48). As for the Warriors sans Durant, that's a tougher chore in the big-boy West, and there's no telling when Thompson suits up or how D'Angelo Russell clicks with Stephen Curry. This smells like 47 wins for Golden State, and maybe that's giving them too much respect.
John Schuhmann: The Raptors were an amazing 17-5 without Leonard last season, but they also had Danny Green, who was a huge part of that no-Kawhi success. Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby should only get better, but it's also possible that Raptors GM Masai Ujiri will trade some of his vets on expiring contracts rather than lose them for nothing next summer. Even if he keeps the group together, the Raptors will take a step backward, landing in the 46-50-win range. With Thompson out, the Warriors have a lot more questions than answers on the wings, especially if D'Angelo Russell isn't a good fit in coach Steve Kerr's offense. But they still have Curry and Draymond Green, who are keystones to an elite offense and defense, respectively. This feels hard to peg down than a prediction for the Raptors, because chemistry is more of a question, but put the Western Conference champs in the same 46-50-win range.
Sekou Smith: 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. The Warriors have a different challenge. No team lost more firepower from last season than the Warriors, who will open the Chase Center without Durant, Thompson (inured), Andre Iguodala (traded), DeMarcus Cousins (signed with Lakers) and Shaun Livingston (waived). If Golden State wins 48 games -- the total usually needed to be playoff contention in the West -- Curry and Green will have to stay injury-free and play at the highest level all season long.