Boston’s Jae Crowder: “Toronto is not a team we’re worried about”

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Heading into next season, the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers are the clear and heavy favorites again in the East.

Second in the East is probably Boston. Or Toronto. It’s a toss up depending on how Al Horford blends in with the Celtics, and if Kyle Lowry can have another massive year for the Raptors.

Of course, that’s not how Boston’s Jae Crowder sees it. From MassLive.com’s Tom Westerholm:

“My guys were telling me that Bleacher Report says we’ll win 59 games,” Crowder said. “That’s a lot of wins, but I want to get past the first round of the playoffs. Two seasons in a row getting swept” (Note: The Celtics lost in six games this past year) “that’s my goal to be honest with you. I think our ceiling is the Eastern Conference Finals. Toronto is not a team we’re worried about. I think Cleveland is the top team. That’s what it comes down to.”

There is only one team in the East that should be picked to win 59 games or more, and they play in Northeast Ohio.

Should Boston be worried about Toronto? Yes, within reason. Crowder is right it remains Cleveland then everyone else in the East, and Boston has work to do.

“I still do think we are missing a few pieces, I’m not going to lie to you,” Crowder said on Thursday, before his appearance at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s 60 Days of Summer. “I know we can win games. I’m just trying to advance, advance, advance. Looking at how the playoffs played out the last two years, I feel like we have a good chance.”

Boston is not only positioned well for this season, but also they are in a great spot going forward — eventually they will land another star and those pieces Crowder wants.

But for now, Crowder should worry a little about Toronto.