Still no NBA season. But as the HQ points out, based on Basketball Prospectus' "Sim Season," that may be a good thing.
Happy Thanksgiving to our readers in the US and happy Friday here in Canada.
It's tempting to say, "happy black Friday," because of all the retail noise occupying cyber-space today, but I'm going to avoid that term considering the NBA labour negotiations going on today.
There's suddenly a chance again that we get an NBA season, albeit an abridged one, so let's not jinx it.
Instead, we'll grab an update on Basketball Prospectus' "Sim Season" to see how our beloved Toronto Raptors are doing.
When we last checked in, the team had but one win, a very early season victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Andrea Bargnani was consistently putting up double-digit scoring sessions, and with improved efficiency. But that was about it as his rebounding was still up and down, and only DeMar DeRozan was showing much else in terms of consistency.
Unfortunately judging by the recent Prospectus' box scores, not much has changed.
The Raptors sit at the bottom of not only the Eastern Conference standings but also the league with a measly 2 and 8 record having beaten the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night to snap a six-game losing streak, but then falling to the Boston Celtics Wednesday night, 96 to 87.
CELTICS 96, RAPTORS 87: The Raptors were coming off a win over Milwaukee that snapped a six-game losing streak, but that wasn't enough to impress the Basketball Prospectus machinery. Toronto was an 18-point underdog to the Celtics. Vegas would never put out a line like that--even if it did, the money that came pouring in on the Raptors would quickly moderate the spread. Our line isn't about betting--it's about judging relative team strength. So it was a small win for the Raptors to hang relatively close in Boston. The Celtics enjoyed their biggest lead of 14 points late in the third and it certainly seemed as if the rout was on. But Toronto hung in and cut the lead to six midway through the fourth on Jose Calderon's three. That was as close as it got. It was kind of a ho-hum game stat-wise. Paul Pierce scored a game-high 21 points and need just eight shots to get there.
DeMar DeRozan led the Raps with a very nice 20 point, 6 rebound, 3 assist effort, and those 20 points came on 8 of 15 shooting.
Andrea had 19 points on 6 of 12 shooting and Leandro Barbosa had one of his "on" games, exploding for 23 off the pine (15 of which were thanks to long range shots), but it's hard to get excited about much else.
On the Boston side, the C's got a balanced attack from their usual suspects and hell, Carlos Arroyo even saw a minute of action.
Again, it's hard to get too deep into these recaps in terms of their basis in reality, considering guys like Reggie Evans and Linas Kleiza are getting major minutes, but directionally things feel about right to me. BP's standings have the Raps, Wizards, Bucks and Cavs all dwelling in the Eastern Conference cellar and that definitely passes the sniff test.
The Western Conference standings look a lot wackier with Phoenix and Minnesota in the top four, but with less than a full month of fake games in the books, a lot of this can be blamed on sample size. Remember, we've seen countless examples of teams that start hot thanks to a myriad of factors, and then fade late in the year, missing the playoff entirely.
The inverse is true too so is there hope for the Dinos?
I'd say not and considering the club's next three games are against the Heat, Magic and Celtics, our next check-in probably won't be any rosier.
Let's just hope then that the NBA talks resolve today with a real season that we can begin to plan for.