The Cavs narrowly overcame the test of the Indiana Pacers, with James avoiding a first ever career exit in the first round of the post season with a 4-3 series win.
But he faces a far tougher challenge against the Raptors, who finished with a franchise-best 59 wins as the East’s No 1 seed and overcame the Washington Wizards 4-2 in the first round.
Cleveland swept aside Raptors 8-2 across two series in the past two years but coach Dwane Casey and GM Masaj Ujiri have moulded Toronto into a multifaceted offensive team in an effort to get past James this time around.
And with the Wine & Gold lacking in post-season experience in spite of their young potential, Smith believes it’s all down to James yet again with the four-time MVP having produced a stunning series average against the Pacers of 27.5 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds.
“It’s going to take a superhuman effort from LeBron James in order to win this series,” Smith told First Take on ESPN.
“They’re not the better team, they have the best player in the world and virtually nothing else.
“Having said all of that, because of what this man has been able to do from Toronto on so many occasions, when I look at the Toronto Raptors, they clearly went about the business of building this team specifically to beat LeBron James.
“That was their number one nemesis. They’ve got bench guys and they’re going to throw bodies after bodies after bodies at LeBron James.
“Can he overcome it? I’m going to say yes because LeBron James has nothing to lose. Everyone knows the Raptors are better without question, all the pressure is on them.”
But Smith warned Toronto that they have to be proactive in their approach against James and the Cavs or else they could pay the price – with James having sunk 40-plus points in three of seven matches against Indiana.
“Outside of Fred VanVleet, everyone’s on the court for defensive and energy purposes,” he continued.
“The one thing you have to deal with with LeBron James is you can never be on a court without offense.
“You have to be able to score. Just defending isn’t enough against him because he’s going to find a way to score.”