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Power Ranking Poll Week 2: Still large and in charge

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The Raptors just put up another undefeated 3-0 week, which surely counts for something in the eyes of the NBA Power Rankers. Right?

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Toronto Raptors Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

It’s at least modestly astounding how quickly we’ve become inured to the idea of “Toronto Raptors, best team in the NBA.” Admittedly, in a macro sense, this isn’t quite true — few would favour the Raps in a series against the Warriors, for example — but in the micro day-to-day sense, Toronto has clearly been on top. Peep that header image: even Lorenzo Brown is living large.

Toronto enters this week’s round of Power Rankings with a perfect 6-0 record after another undefeated run of games. It’s a positively giddy time to be a Raptors fan, and yet we’re mostly taking this all in due course. Yes, despite even those collapses in the playoffs, the Raptors have built a baseline level of trust in the fanbase — we’re all just standing on Toronto’s high floor, waiting. We wait on Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, of course, and the gelling of the bench, the rhythm of the centre position, the tactical acumen of Nick Nurse, along with everything else. In all, we wait for the ceiling.

As such, this week’s Power Rankings do the job of summing that feeling up. To open the 2018-19 NBA season, the Raptors have been fantastically great. But with this squad, what else could you expect?

First up, as always, is ESPN and Kevin Arnovitz with the responsible take on the Raptors after another 3-0 week:

2. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 2)

Only one undefeated team will remain in the association after the Raptors face off against the Bucks in Milwaukee on Monday night. Only three NBA starters have posted a higher true-shooting percentage than Kyle Lowry (72.7 percent), while the Spurs’ imports of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green have been a paragon of two-way efficiency — both shooting 45 percent or better from 3-point land and stabilizing the wings defensively.

The aforementioned showdown with the Bucks took a hit in the excitement department with the news that both Giannis and Kawhi were going to sit out (the former with a concussion, the latter for rest). Still, it’s obvious both the Raptors and the Bucks have figured something out about themselves and the current NBA — and I pity the fool teams greeting these squads at full strength.

We continue on with Sports Illustrated’s Khadrice Rollins and, well, I bet he wishes he could edit this a bit:

1. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 1)

The Raptors continue to look the best of any team in the league. Playing basically every game at home helps make that way easier, but it’s not like they are in charge of constructing their schedule. Monday’s game in Milwaukee should be a great one and an even better test of where this team is. Plus, Kawhi vs. Giannis. What could possibly keep you from watching that matchup?

Number 1 spot, good. Best team in the league, good. Playing a lot at him, sure. Ah, there we are: Bucks vs. Raptors, Kawhi vs. Giannis — sorry, not happening. Nevertheless, we’ll take the no. 1, Khadrice!

On to the sober musings of Dr. John Schuhmann, the longest serving Power Ranker anywhere around over at NBA dot com:

1. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 1)

The guy who came with Kawhi Leonard (who had 35 points on 15-for-23 shooting against Minnesota on Wednesday) from San Antonio has been pretty good, too. The 18 3-pointers than Danny Green has made this season are more than he made in any six-game stretch last season, and with the starting group so dominant — the Raptors have outscored their opponents by 27 points per 100 possessions in 90 minutes with Kyle Lowry, Green, Leonard and Pascal Siakam on the floor together — it hasn’t mattered that they have yet to have both Delon Wright and Fred VanVleet off the bench. But after playing five of their first six games at home, the Raptors will play nine of their next 13 on the road. That stretch includes four back-to-backs, with Leonard having rested the second game of their first one.

Schuhmann, or his handlers, included the tweet in question above, and really, the visual there says it all. Props, though, to the doctor for including a look ahead here: the Raptors do have a tough schedule over the next little while. Their annual deep west road trip is coming, and we’ll see where we’re at when they return.

Finally, the hot takes keep on coming from CBS Sports and their new man Reid Forgrave:

2. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 2)

What made the Raptors so great last regular season was their bench unit. The Raptors’ bench led all bench units in net rating, and Dwane Casey used his bench more than any NBA coach but one. But thanks to some injury concerns, the Raptors rank 20th in the NBA in bench minutes, and their bench actually is posting a negative net rating. That doesn’t seem to matter much, though, because Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry have been magnificent.

Dammit Reid, I’m trying to have a good Monday, let’s try not to talk about the Raptors bench just yet. That crew has been together for some time, but it’s clear they’re still finding their way. Lorenzo Brown may have gotten his chance, but we’re still waiting for some combination of Jonas Valanciunas, Fred VanVleet, Delon Wright, OG Anunoby, and C.J. Miles to take off.

Now, on to the poll.

Poll

Are the Raptors being ranked fairly in Week 2 of the Power Rankings?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    No, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0!!!!!
    (47 votes)
  • 27%
    Yes, context matters, and yikes would someone tell that guy up there about perspective.
    (69 votes)
  • 4%
    No, you talk of perspective as if the world isn’t falling apart, friend.
    (11 votes)
  • 50%
    Yes, the Raptors are good.
    (127 votes)
254 votes total Vote Now