Today of all days is not the best day to drop a rankings column in the NBA. Over on the front page of SB Nation NBA, our man Tom Ziller just dropped a top 100 (that's two zeroes) ranking of the league's free agents of 2016. If we're going to rank the rankings, it's hard to argue that a top 100 isn't immediately better than a top 30, so we're playing from behind here.
Nevertheless, we continue on.
Actually, wait, before we continue on, how cool is it that DeMar DeRozan is ranked number four on this list and it is not a lock he'll leave the team. In years past, this was a sure thing for the Raptors and their franchise players. I don't have to list the names. We all have them tattooed on our memories (or maybe our bodies, depending on how hardcore you are).
So, read that again: DeRozan will be a free agent this summer and there's a good chance, for better or worse, he'll be coming back to Toronto. Yep, that's cool. (And shouts to Bismack Biyombo, coming in at no. 34!)
Now let's get to the (other) rankings.
First up, a nod, a bow and a salute to Marc Stein of ESPN. Read on:
Eh, you know what? Stein put the Raptors at no. 3, so I can't get too mad at him for posting his rankings at 8pm.
Meanwhile, over at SInow.com, Jeremy Woo is all-in on the Raptors:
4) TORONTO RAPTORS
LAST WEEK: 4
RECORD: 32-15 (3-0)
The hottest team around heads west for a five-game swing against beatable competition, with its win streak at 11 games and counting. The only wrong Toronto has done lately was booking Sting for All-Star halftime. Well... not if you ask my mother.
The Raptors are hot. The road trip is very winnable. And Sting is a hit with middle-aged (and up) ladies. Woo goes 3-0 here.
Now what does John Schuhmann of NBA.com have for us? Presumably fewer jokes about Sting. Let's see:
5) Toronto Raptors (32-15)
Last week: 4
Pace: 95.8 (26) OffRtg: 105.4 (6) DefRtg: 100.7 (8) NetRtg: +4.7 (6)
The success of the Raptors' bench is mostly about defense, but Cory Joseph (who has scored in double-figures in four straight games for the second time in his career) and Terrence Ross (18-for-35 from 3-point range over the last seven games) have been providing some offensive production as well. With their winning streak at 11 games, they head out for a six-game, pre-All-Star trip, but the opponents aren't that great.
More positives all-around from the clinical mind of Dr. Schuhmann. What a difference it makes when your bench is playing out of its mind good, am I right? Here's hoping they can keep it up. (And by they, I mean Terrence Ross.)
Finally, the bad boy of NBA blogging, Matt Moore of CBSSports.com, has his cogent analysis:
5) Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 5)
I'm figuring Toronto will have a rough stretch after the All-Star Game because it may take them 10 days to get over the hangover. That's going to be a party.
Drinking is bad.
Now, let's head to the poll.