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Dinos & Digits: On the indefensible defense, plus some love for the efficiency of Lowry and Valanciunas

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Another instalment of Dinos & Digits, where we look at five interesting Raptors stats.

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to Dinos & Digits, a place where we dive into the box scores and find five interesting or strange Raptors statistics and put them on front street for discussion. There will be a mix of both individual player and team statistics to explore, ranging from raw box score numbers to some interesting and funky advanced metrics.

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

Since February 1st, the Raptors are 24th in the NBA in Defensive Rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) at 109.7.

Prior to that 15-game sample, they were ranked eighth at 100.7. On the season as a whole, they are now ranked 13th at 102.9.

Meanwhile, the team has led the league in Offensive Rating (points scored per 100 possessions) since February 1st with a mark of 112.6 and is now up to 107.1 on the season, ranking fifth.

Toronto holds opponents to 98.3 points per game, the fifth-lowest mark in the league.

Opponent points per game is sometimes used to rate a team's defensive effectiveness, but the lack of adjustment for pace makes it an inaccurate portrayal of just how much a team limits their opposition's scoring.

The Raptors play with the second-slowest pace in the NBA, averaging 95.41 possessions per 48 minutes, so it's normal that their opponents would have a low scoring average against them and said average doesn't really say much about the defense when used on its own.

Defensive Rating (points allowed per 100 possessions), mentioned in the blurb above, is a more accurate representation of how a team defends its opponents because it adjusts for pace.

The Raptors have placed in the bottom half of the league in all of Dean Oliver's Defensive Four Factors since February 1st.

Those "Four Factors of Basketball Success" include an opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage (weighted two and threes), Free Throw Attempt Rate (free throw attempts per field goal attempt), Turnover Ratio (turnovers per 100 possessions), and Offensive Rebound Rate (percentage of offensive rebounds a team grabs while on the court).

Here's how the team has fared in each of those categories both prior to and since February 1st:

Category First 47 Games NBA Rank Last 15 Games NBA Rank
Opp eFG% 49.1% 12th 53.3% 24th
Opp FTA Rate 0.258 6th 0.314 25th
Opp TO Ratio 14.7 18th 13.7 17th
Opp OREB% 21.9 4th 23.7 18th


Since the All-Star Break, Kyle Lowry is shooting 54.7% from the field and 43.1% from three-point range.

The resulting 63.7% Effective Field Goal Percentage (weighted twos and threes) is nearly identical to Stephen Curry's season-long mark of 63.8%, which ranks him second in the entire Association (trailing only DeAndre Jordan's 69.0%).

Both Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas are on pace to beat the Raptors' franchise record in Win Shares Per 48 Minutes at .218 and .211, respectively.

The current record is .208, set by Vince Carter in 2000-01.

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