It’s early days still in this, the 2016-17 NBA season, as the Raptors have only played six games. Here’s one or two (or more) things we know so far:
- DeMar DeRozan is quite good shooting from most every area on the court — within the three-point line;
- The Raptors on the whole are not shooting particularly well — with DeMarre Carroll, Kyle Lowry and Patrick Patterson as the worst offenders — from three;
- Jonas Valanciunas needs to stay as healthy as possible;
- The trio of Pascal Siakam, Jakob Poeltl and Lucas Nogueira have flashed their skills in different ways, but all three have their limitations;
- Every other team besides the Cavaliers (and Charlotte?) is going through something right now;
- The Raptors are 4-2.
With all of that in mind, let’s get to this week’s collection of power rankings.
6. Toronto Raptors
2016-17 record: 4-2
Previous ranking: 5
Tiny Archibald, Marques Johnson, Adrian Dantley, Michael Jordan ... and DeMar DeRozan. That's your list of players, through the NBA's last 50 (yes, fifty) seasons, to score at least 30 points in each of his team's first five games. It's been a historic start to the season for 30-point scorers, but Toronto had to know that the streak was going to end eventually. The Raps didn't have enough pick-me-up for DeRozan when it did and promptly lost at home to slumping Sacramento.
Now come on, can’t Marc Stein and Mark Cuban put their differences aside somehow? Is there a big time writer out there who writes with more pro-Mavs fervour than Steiny-Mo? I thought not.
Also, what he says about the Raptors here is true.
5. Toronto Raptors (4–2)
Last Week: 5
Net Rating: +5.6
If SI.com's preseason ranking of DeMar DeRozan (46th overall) has anything at all to do with his early-season tear… then you’re welcome, Canada.
Oh, but how dare you Woo. After not even getting your rankings in on time last week, you now have the nerve — the gall — to take credit for firing up DeRozan in the early season. I am irate about this.
Deep breath. Dr. John Schuhmann, I am calm and ready for your take on things:
7. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 5)
Pace: 95.6 (28) OffRtg: 105.5 (7) DefRtg: 99.9 (7) NetRtg: +5.6 (7)
One loss to the Kings doesn't mean that the Raptors' guard-heavy, low-assist offense isn't sustainable. But the intent of the Sacramento defense - getting the ball out of DeMar DeRozan's hands - was much like that of the defenses the Raptors have faced in the playoffs. And in each of the last two postseasons, Toronto has suffered a huge drop-off in offensive efficiency from its regular season numbers. Still, they have a top-10 offense with two starters - Kyle Lowry and DeMarre Carroll - shooting a combined 34 percent.
Ahhhhh, Schuhmann’s jumping way, way ahead here, but he’s also not wrong. If there was a ranking of things to be concerned about vis-à-vis the Raptors, number one would probably be about the big man rotation, and number two would be the state of this team’s shooting right now. (And three would probably involve the playing time of Norman Powell.) Let’s just remind ourselves that we are but six games into the season.
Not that this will help, but let’s go to Matt Moore of CBS Sports for a final gauge on matters:
Uh, OK, actually... the page is blank. Matt, what you doing?
There you have it.
Now, to the poll.