We took a week off last week from the Power Rankings Poll, but not really. There was no poll, but there was a lot of work. It was All-Star Weekend in Toronto, as you'll recall. And while the finale of the weekend, the actual game, was tragically boring, I was still totally wiped out come Monday. Plus, the Raptors didn't play for awhile. (I'm choosing to forget that Minnesota game even happened.)
But they have now! They lost sadly to the Bulls (again) and beat the Memphis Grizzlies soundly (again). As you may have surmised after the week's performances, and the team's paucity of moves at the trade deadline, the Raptors remain very much the same as they've always been. Anxiety about the post-season aside, that's OK! (At the very least, the team's coach isn't getting up to trouble on Twitter. Hi Knicks fans!)
Anyway, let's just get to the rankings.
First up, on time this week, is ESPN's Marc Stein, who I sadly did not run into in Toronto:
Marc, any time you want to come back to Toronto, you're more than welcome. My couch is small, but comfortable. Come on by!
Before things get too weird, let's see how SI's Jeremy Woo -- who I saw from afar, but didn't meet -- feels about the team:
6) TORONTO RAPTORS
LAST WEEK: 5
RECORD: 36-18 (1-1)
With the Raptors opting not to add another big man before the deadline, it's a good time to point out Jonas Valanciunas has begun to hit a groove (15 points on 64% shooting, 8.7 rebounds in February). The team can further justify the front office staying put with a win over the Cavs this week.
Yes, Jonas time is upon us! There's your solution for a little less burning out of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Just give the ball to Jonas and get the hell out of the way. That'll work, right?
Meanwhile, over at NBA.com, John Schuhman is back at it again. (I saw Schuhman's dope ass dad jeans from afar as well. It was not the best networking weekend for me, let's just say that.) What you got, man?
6) Toronto Raptors
Last week: 5
Pace: 95.8 (26) OffRtg: 105.7 (6) DefRtg: 101.6 (9) NetRtg: +4.1 (6)
The Raptors are still comfortably in second place in the East, but probably don't want to see the Bulls in seventh. They're 0-3 against Chicago after Friday's loss, having allowed 114 points per 100 possessions in the three games. Their defense has been slipping in general. They rank 19th on that end in February, after ranking in the top 10 in each of the previous two months. Friday is their last game against the Cavs.
The... defense... is... slipping?
MOVING ON. Matt Moore at CBS Sports keeps it real, as always. (Even if he did apparently totally chicken out on coming to Toronto for the ASG. I'm telling you pal, it was fine. Cold, but fine.)
7) Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 5)
They slip a bit because the Clippers' good loss (Warriors) is slightly better than the Raptors' good loss (Bulls) and because they needed a win over injured, discombobulated Memphis to snap a two-game losing streak. However, the Raptors remain confident DeMarre Carroll will return this year and when fully healthy, they are the most dangerous Eastern Conference team outside of Cleveland.
Still the most dangerous team in the East (outside of Cleveland). Just hang the banners already. We made it.
Now, on to the poll.