We are not going to rehash the goings on in San Antonio and Golden State. What would be the point? The Raptors ran up against two very good teams and did everything they could to win — but then they lost. It sucks, but that’s what happens sometimes in the NBA.
Meanwhile, the Raptors bounced back against the Lakers despite a cold start, and still have a chance to go .500 (or better!) on their massive west coast road trip. There have been other things too: Delon Wright doing everything (but long distance shooting) well, OG Anunoby playing like a pro, Jakob Poeltl being unafraid of the giants in the Bay Area, and Pascal Siakam coming in outta nowhere to contribute. There’s a lot to get fired up about with the Raptors, and folks, I like getting fired up.
Let’s get to this week’s rankings and the poll.
In an all-hands-on-deck situation over at ESPN, here comes — [checks paper] — Kevin Arnovitz to make our first Raptors-related ranking decree of the week.
2017-18 record: 3-2
Previous ranking: 6
Two full weeks into the season and the the Raptors are in full Raptor mode. They've won each of the three games they entered as the favorite, and have lost both contests in which they were the underdog, including a couple of road tilts this week at San Antonio and Golden State. Some good news: The Raps are getting quality production from young big men Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl.
Is.... is this full Raptor mode? Winning games you’re supposed to win and losing games against superior teams? This reads like a good mode. I like this mode. I also like Siakam and Poeltl. Now then, moving on.
We turn to Sports Illustrated and Kenny Ducey for his irreverent take on where the Raptors stand.
9. Toronto Raptors (3–2)
Last Week: 7
I’ve been waiting for that first moment this season that reminds us that the Raptors are, indeed, elite. They’ve got some winnable games coming up, so maybe they catch fire and make some noise like a real good team, like the Magic.
The joke here is that the Magic are not a real good team. And you know what? I believe that to be the case. (Even if, dammit, a signature win over the Warriors would have been huge for the Raptors. I said I wouldn’t rehash this, and I won’t.... but still.)
Coming in third, the old reliable Dr. John Schuhmann of NBA dot com. A force as old as time. He says:
11. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 8)
Pace: 103.8 (7) OffRtg: 106.7 (7) DefRtg: 97.4 (5) NetRtg:+9.3 (4)
The Raptors are just some late-game execution from having a great trip so far. They led by two with six minutes to go in San Antonio on Monday and led by five with two minutes to go at Golden State on Wednesday, but allowed the Spurs and Warriors to shoot a combined 9-for-11 in closing those games out. The Raps have seen the league's biggest increase in the percentage of their shots that come from the restricted area or 3-point range (from 59 percent last season to 74 percent through Sunday), but that's coming from everybody but DeMar DeRozan, who is still the king of non-restricted-area two-point shots, which account for 73 percent (58/80) of his attempts. Still, if his teammates start shooting better than 30 percent from beyond the arc (the Raps rank 29th in 3-point percentage), look out.
I think this one is unfair, doctor — especially considering the Raptors are somehow looking up at the Pistons and Magic, two teams who will most definitely sink like stones in the next two months. I don’t even want to debate this, even if Schuhmann scores a good point, re: the Raptors long distance shooting.
And finally, here’s Matt Mo—wait a minute, Chris Barnewall? How long have you been here? What’s going on CBS Sports???
7. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 6)
The Raptors had a chance to knock off some really good teams early on, but against both the Spurs and Warriors they failed in the clutch. Toronto is running a new pass happy-offense and it's working for them, but when games get tough it easily falls back into single-player isolation sets.
Ah yes, the more things change... well, you know the rest.
On to the poll.
Are the Raptors being ranked fairly in the Week 2 Power Rankings?
This poll is closed
No, it’s unfair to ding them so much for close losses against great teams
Yes, gotta close games out when you’ve got the chance
No, I’m ready to drive straight into the Pacific Ocean
Yes, because, as always, who the hell knows anything?