There’s a movement starting in Toronto right now. Can you feel it? The city is winning titles all over the place — the 905, the Wolfpack, the Argos, TFC — and people are having a great time. There’s optimism everywhere, and it has given voice to a powerful sentiment: the Raptors, god bless them, are fun and good.
That, in fact, is the official name of Toronto’s newest movement: Fun and Good. You can put it right after the Raptors’ name and it fits. (You could even go buck wild and put it after almost every player’s name on the team.) Try it with me now: the Raptors... are fun and good. Say it fast, say it slow; it just feels very satisfying to acknowledge.
Toronto’s basketball team has won six games in a row, they’re a topped ranked offense and defense, they have a superlative supporting cast, and two main stars who are playing the best ball of their mutual careers.
Refrain: the Raptors are fun and good.
Oooo, I never get tired of saying it. But let’s set that aside and see what the Power Rankings say this time out.
First up, Vincent “Vinnie “The Microwave”” Johnson notes some milestones at ESPN:
6. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 6)
The Raptors' two best players have each improved significantly in a specific phase of their games. Kyle Lowry is averaging 6.5 rebounds per game after never averaging five in a season. The Raptors are 15-3 when he grabs five or more boards and 2-4 when he doesn't. DeMar DeRozan is averaging 5.1 assists per game, also a career high. The Raptors are 13-1 when he has five or more assists this season and 4-6 when he doesn't.
I’m not sure that Lowry rebounding causality will bear much weight (at least not compared to DeRozan’s assist numbers), but it’s fun to imagine a world in which the fate of the Raptors is dependent on Kyle grabbing boards. Fun and good, folks!
Up next, chuckle up for Kenny Ducey and Sports Illustrated:
6. Toronto Raptors (17–7)
Last Week: 6
Just as I was preparing my “meh” remarks about the Raptors, they surged past the Grizzlies and totaled the most fast-break points (41) in the NBA since 2003. They’ve had a lot of time between games lately and it looks like it’s refreshed their legs.
Meh remarks? Meh?! Did Ducey not get the memo? The Raptors have indeed been gifted with a lot of rest lately, but you know what else they have in surplus: young, exciting players who want to gallop over anyone who gets in their way. It’s called being fun and good, pal. Watch it.
Now a stolid step forward to read the wise words of Dr. John Schuhmann at NBA dot com, the one true home of the league.
5. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 5)
Pace: 100.3 (11) OffRtg: 111.1 (3) DefRtg: 103.1 (9) NetRtg:+8.0 (3)
Having averaged 7.0 dimes over the Raptors' six-game winning streak, DeMar DeRozan is at a career-high 5.1 for the season. He's Mr. Mid-Range in regard to his own shots, but 88 percent of DeRozan's assists have been on buckets in the restricted area or from 3-point range. That's the second highest rate (behind only that of James Harden) among 48 players with 100 or more total assists. Serge Ibaka has shot 13-for-21 from 3-point range over the last four games, having gone 0-for-12 over the previous four. The Raptors haven't played him too much at center (because Jakob Poeltl has been too good), but are a plus-30 in the 57 minutes in which they have.
DeRozan? Fun and good. Serge Ibaka when he’s hitting all his shots? Fun and good. Jakob Poeltl? Fun and, whoa now, too good. The doctor gets it.
And finally, finally, finally, we have the rainmaker Chris Barnewall of CBS coming in with the knowledge:
6. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 5)
The Raptors are beating the pants off of teams and they're flying under the radar. They have the NBA's third-best net rating behind the Warriors and the Rockets. Don't be surprised if they catch teams by surprise late in the season.
Oh, you didn’t know??? The Raptors........... [huge swerve coming].......... are fun and good.
(In truth, I’m more worried about being caught by surprise in the playoffs, but I refuse to give voice to those concerns. Fun and good times, everybody!)
On to the poll.
Are the Raptors being ranked fairly in Week 8 of the Power Rankings?
This poll is closed
No, fun and good and #1!
Yes, I am very much enjoying my time on planet earth in the city of Toronto
No, how can we discuss anything fun and good at a time like this?
Yes, but the Last Jedi should be out by now imho