With the Toronto Raptors sitting at 48-32, the team has already tied their franchise record for wins set in 2013-14 and will have two chances to break said record over the next couple of days. There have been plenty of down years in the 20 seasons of this franchise, but this one will surely rank as one of its best.
Granted, this year's team isn't exactly surrounded by the same optimism as last year's had going into the playoffs, but a third division title and homecourt advantage in the playoffs for only the third time ever is nothing to balk at.
In order to put this year's Raptors in historical context, let's take a look at where both the team and its players fit on some of the franchise's leaderboards. By doing so, perhaps we'll be able to appreciate the season that was a little more.
The Raptors set a team record for average margin of victory last season at 3.24, and this year they came close to matching it at 3.11 (their second-best mark).
The team's defence has been a cause for concern all season, but the fact that their offensive rating of 111.2 is so close to the franchise record of 111.3 set in 2009-10 (and could very well pass it before season's end) is perhaps an underrated silver lining. Especially when you consider the fact that their current offensive mark is 5.6 points per 100 possessions better than this year's league average (a team record).
This season also marks the year that Raptors have both made (8.8) and attempted (25.0) the most three-pointers, scored the most points (104.3), and turned the ball over fewer times per game (12.8) than all but one season (11.7 in 2007-08).
Player Records (Totals)
The Raptors' two All-Stars of the last two years, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, only missed three games each last season. As a result of playing such a large number of the team's games at such a high level, they both made it onto several of the team's leaderboards for an individual season by the end of 2013-14. This year, with Lowry missing 12 games and DeRozan missing 21, not very many Raptors cracked the top-10 in totals for a season (perhaps also an indication that this year's team is more balanced).
The only entries are Lou Williams in three-pointers made (152, eighth) and attempted (443, fourth), DeMar in free throws made (361, 10th) and attempted (434, 10th), and Jonas Valanciunas in offensive (213, ninth) and defensive (467, 10th) rebounds. Of course, given Lou's bench role, DeMar's aforementioned missed games, and Jonas' mere 26.1 minutes played per game, those are all pretty impressive feats.
Player Records (Advanced)
On the advanced stat side of things, Jonas Valanciunas is on pace to place eighth in Raptors history in player efficiency rating (20.6), fifth in offensive rebound percentage (12.0), first in defensive rebound percentage (26.4), fifth in total rebound percentage (19.2), and fifth in win shares per 48 minutes (.190). The big guy still isn't playing heavy minutes for the Raptors, but the star potential is clearly starting to emerge and he's still only 22.
A few other players that will crack the top-10 in advanced stat categories are James Johnson in block percentage and defensive box plus/minus, DeMar DeRozan and Lou Williams in usage percentage, Patrick Patterson in offensive rating, and Kyle Lowry in box plus/minus and value over replacement player. There are a lot of interesting positives there.
What do you think? Do any of these numbers surprise you? Do you know any that we missed? Jump in the comment section and let us know.
(All stats per Basketball-Reference.com)
Editor's note: This is a sponsored post from FanDuel, a site that features all sorts of one-day fantasy basketball tournaments like this one (which costs only $2 to play and features a $10,000 prize for first place).