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NBA Boston CelticsToronto Raptors

Brooklyn Nets Should Take Toronto Raptors Seriously

Tom Szczerbowski-USA Today Sports

In the Atlantic division, the only team that poses any sort of threat to the Brooklyn Nets claiming the crown will be the New York Knicks.

The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics have entered total rebuild mode, and shouldn’t be too difficult for the Nets to take care of in every matchup this upcoming season.

But what about the division’s remaining team, the Toronto Raptors? They’re also rebuilding somewhat, but are further ahead of Boston and Philadelphia at this point.

Attention hasn’t really found its way across the border up to Toronto since the shocking deal last season that landed them former Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay.

And yet, that trade is one of the main reasons the Nets should have a lot of respect for the Raptors. Gay is one of the league’s most underrated talents, and when he’s surrounded by the likes of Amir Johnson, DeMar DeRozan, D.J. Augustin, Landry Fields, Kyle Lowry and a number of other solid players, Toronto becomes a team that Brooklyn cannot sleep on, especially when they’re going to meet so many times during the course of the season.

Now this isn’t implying that the Raptors will be good enough to have a chance at winning the Atlantic, but they’ll be more than competitive and extremely tough team to deal with.

But these are the types of teams that the Nets will have to beat if they want to be a top seed in the East. It’ll be easy for them to ratchet up the intensity against the elite, but winning games against teams like the Raptors will be a tougher challenge than expected.

Mike B. Ruiz is a Brooklyn Nets writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikebruiz and “Like” him on Facebook.