Cap killing contracts don't have to be big or even numerous.
When projecting the talent of your key pieces, what is their skill set? Are they complete players? Do they lack a specific area? I look at Paul George as a complete player and that was evident after year 2.
The Pacers were going to throw a shit load of money at Hibbert but they managed to lock up a borderline All-Star at PF beforehand.
George and Hibbert were much more sure bets than Holiday and Turner. Turner has been a bad #2 pick since almost day 1. Holiday was solid.
The Pacers also had success with Granger. In fact, they had a higher winning percentage with him in '11-12. They lost in 6 games to Miami in '11-12 in the 2nd round vs. 7 games in the Conference Finals this year.
I think the difference in Indy and Philly was Indy had more proven talent and younger talent with more upside.
Without considering trades, when looking at the current roster (any current roster) I think one can project. You list the Raptors players but outside of JV, all those players are in the league for 3+ seasons and are 24+ by the start of next season. Looking for players like DeRozan, Lowry, and Gay to somehow become more than what they already are is one of the key ingredients for determining this group has a ceiling. Lowry and Gay are going in to their 8th seasons while DD will be 5th.