A frustrated and sarcastic DeMar DeRozan told reporters that if Toronto had LeBron James, the Raptors would be advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.
LeBron, of course, led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a four-game sweep of the Raps.
DeMar DeRozan after Cavaliers swept Raptors: "If we had LeBron on our team, too, we woulda won." pic.twitter.com/UEgukLJm1S
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 7, 2017
The Raptors are now heading into an offseason of uncertainty.
Per the Toronto Star:
“They’re the champs,” [Kyle] Lowry said. “He’s unbelievable. He’s a great player. He’s doing what his team needs for him to do. They’re the defending champs for a reason. He’s just been on another level, and he’s just raised his game. I know I’m not a LeBron, and DeMar’s not a LeBron. We push our team, and do what we need to do to get our team wins, and we’ve just got to get better. Some how, some way.”
And with that, he cut to the heart of the issue. Nobody is LeBron. Lowry is a top-20 player in the world, but LeBron is the best player by miles, and you can stuff your MVP vote in a sack. Lowry and DeRozan have delivered the best era in Raptors history: the four winningest seasons in franchise history, the first four consecutive playoff berths, the first three wins in a best-of-seven series.
Then comes LeBron, and he turns it all to ash. DeRozan said he thinks LeBron seems a lot faster and quicker this year, and that “him out there is much different from last year.” Fifty wins, Kyle and DeMar, playoff spots, and LeBron makes it all feel small.
“I think he understands the moment,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “I think he’s chasing Michael (Jordan). I think he’s chasing rings. And that’s what a guy at his level does. We’re trying to get where they’ve been, to the championship. It’s not easy. They’ve been through some turmoil. He’s been through heartache and pain. You’ve got to go through that to get there. There’s no shame at all going through toughness and pain to get where to where you want to go to win a championship.”