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Dinos & Digits: The Most Efficient Offense in NBA History

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This week, we compare the Raptors and their potentially record-setting offensive efficiency to some of the greatest teams in NBA history, give Bebe props, and more.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Toronto Raptors Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to Dinos & Digits, a column where we dive into the box scores and find five interesting or strange Raptors statistics and put them on front street for discussion.

We like to explore a mix of both individual player and team statistics, ranging from raw box score numbers to some interesting and funky advanced metrics. The goal is to present the numbers without too much opinion attached, leaving those debates for the comment section.

OK, let's get down to it. Here are this week's interesting digits:

The Raptors’ 117.6 offensive rating is on pace to be the best in NBA history.

We mentioned their historic offensive rating a couple weeks ago, back when it was on pace to be the 10th-best of all time. Now that the Raps have leaped all the way up to the top of the list, we can’t help but look at it again.

Here are the top-10 offensive ratings in league history:

Top-10 Offensive Ratings in NBA History

Rank Team Year Offensive Rating
Rank Team Year Offensive Rating
1 Toronto Raptors 2016-17 117.6
2 Golden State Warriors 2016-17 116.7
3 Los Angeles Lakers 1986-87 115.6
4 Chicago Bulls 1991-92 115.5
5 Boston Celtics 1987-88 115.4
6 Phoenix Suns 2009-10 115.3
7 Chicago Bulls 1995-96 115.2
8 Orlando Magic 1994-95 115.1
9 Dallas Mavericks 1986-87 114.9
10 Seattle Supersonics 1994-95 114.8
Basketball-Reference.com

Jordan’s Bulls, Magic’s Lakers, Bird’s Celtics, the seven-seconds-or-less Suns, the current Warriors super-team, and your 2016-17 Toronto Raptors.

There are still 57 games to go, and this ridiculous level of offensive efficiency will be hard to maintain over a full season, but it is still quite something to even be having this conversation about a third of the way through the season.

Toronto’s -2.7 net rating (points scored minus points allowed per 100 possessions) in losses is the best in the NBA.

In other words, the Raptors don’t lose big. The next closest team in these rankings is the Utah Jazz, who have a -7.3 net rating in losses.

TSN’s Josh Lewenberg pointed out another interesting stat earlier this week with regards to how the Raptors keep every single game close:

Lucas Nogueira’s 25.5 net rating is the best of any player in the league with a minimum of 15.0 minutes played per game.

That’s based on his 126.3 offensive rating (also league-leading) and 100.8 defensive rating.

If he met the minimum statistic requirements for the NBA leaderboards, he would lead the league in effective field goal percentage (weighted twos and threes) at 78.3 percent and true shooting percentage (weighted twos, threes, and free throws) at 78.4 percent as well.

The Raptors lead the NBA in free throws per field goal attempt at .253.

They get to the line at such a high rate and are second in the Association in free throw efficiency with a mark of 82.1 percent from the charity stripe (trailing only the San Antonio Spurs at 82.4 percent).

The Raptors have the lowest turnover percentage in the NBA at 11.1 percent.

The 12.5 points that they allow opponents to score off of giveaways is the second-lowest mark in the league, trailing only the Detroit Pistons at 12.4.

Meanwhile, on the defensive side of things, the 19.7 points per game that the Raptors score off of turnovers is the best mark in the Association and their 14.2 percent opponent turnover percentage ranks seventh.

All stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com and NBA.com/stats.