There was something heartening about coach Dwane Casey mentioning his team’s consistency. He knows having a team with a lot of young guys means having to deal with up-and-down play. Some nights Fred VanVleet will go off for 10 points out of nowhere, or Jakob Poeltl will grab 14 rebounds, and so on. And then both could very well disappear in a different game — who knows?
But really, what have the Raptors been over the past, hmm, forever number of years, if not consistently inconsistent? Some nights DeMar DeRozan’s jumper goes in, other times it doesn’t; sometimes Jonas Valanciunas can’t be stopped, sometimes he looks like the Caveman Lawyer out there. My point is, the whole thing has long felt rather random. I mean, good lord, remember when we used to hinge our emotional well-being to Andrea Bargnani?
I wish I could offer more reassurances here. The Raptors will likely win more games than they lose. The victories will feel great, the losses will suck, and then the team will get knocked out of the playoffs and we’ll all try again next year.
How’s that for a summary? Let’s get to the rankings.
First up, here’s where the folks at ESPN — personified this week by Jose De Leon — have the Raptors.
6. Toronto Raptors
2017-18 record: 5-4
Previous ranking: 8
The Raptors went 3-3 on their six-game road trip against Western Conference opponents. Their losses against the Warriors and Spurs were by a combined nine points. No team from the Eastern Conference has faced more Western Conference teams than the Raptors this season.
Hanging firm at the 6-spot despite the debacle in Denver and the disaster against Washington? Jose, welcome..... to the Resistance.
Next up, Kenny Ducey of SI’s The Crossover sounds confused about the Raptors. Shall we enlighten him?
12. Toronto Raptors (5–4)
Last Week: 9
Kyle Lowry getting tossed. Fred VanVleet going for 10, 3 and 4 off the bench. I don’t know what the hell is going on with this team.
The truth is, Lowry getting tossed at least once every year or two shouldn’t come as a shock. VanVleet deciding to personally cook and serve Tomas Satoransky with a nice vinaigrette shouldn’t really shock us either. As the man FVV joked after the game, it’s merely the law of averages.
Our guy — can we call him that? — Dr. John Schuhmann at everybody’s mothership site is coming in hot this week.
10. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 11)
Pace: 101.2 (14) OffRtg: 106.7 (8) DefRtg: 101.4 (8) NetRtg:+5.3 (7)
The Raptors' six-game trip included five games against teams likely to finish in the top 10 in the West, so a 3-3 result (despite a couple of blown opportunities) is good enough. But Sunday's loss to the Wall-less Wizards (with Kyle Lowry evening things out with a second-quarter ejection) could be one that comes back to haunt them. That was the worst 3-point shooting night for the league's worst 3-point shooting team, with this week's most important game (Sunday in Boston) is against the league's best 3-point defense.
Props to the Schuh for keeping Toronto in the top 10, even if he feels the need to double down on those 3-point shooting digs. Yes, we get it — the team could use some work from range. But with C.J. Miles sick for half the week, and Lowry ejected last night, it was bound to go this way for a least a little while.
Finally, CBS Sports weighs in. (I just can’t get mad at them anymore without Matt Moore flying in off the top rope.)
18. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 11)
The Raptors are an emotional rollercoaster. They beat the Blazers. YAY! They get blown out by Denver. BOO! They beat the Jazz. YAY! They get destroyed by the Wizards. BOO!
I take it all back — what the hell is this? Eighteen?! Boo, indeed.
Now, on to the poll.
Are the Raptors being ranked fairly in the Week 3 Power Rankings?
This poll is closed
No, I’m getting myself ejected in solidarity!
Yes, this team still needs some settling
No, [loses grip on reality while in throes of 2015 playoffs flashback]
Yes, we’ll never make up our mind here, is the point