clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Power Ranking Poll Week 7: How does it feel to be... number one?

New, comment

The Raptors beat the Warriors, and now the world is at their doorstep. But... are they being ranked fairly?

NBA Playoffs 2019 Tactical Issues: What to expect from the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals Game 1 Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

As a Toronto Raptors team site, it’s easy to get caught up in the minutia of improvements and all the ways the Raptors really aren’t that good, and have a long road ahead.

The thing is, when you beat a team like the Golden State Warriors, and a whole new host of dew-eyed NBA watchers see your team for what they are, some of that minutia gets thrown out the window. These are national NBA writers waxing poetic about Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam, after all!

While the Raptors have been getting power ranked at or near the top by darn near every site for a couple weeks ago, you’ll notice a change in vernacular after last Wednesday’s butthole-clenching overtime win over the Warriors. Suddenly, Toronto are top dogs. They beat the champs!

As such, we now embark on new turf: a unanimous number one ranking by the power rankers that be.

Let’s start with Kevin Arnovitz and the Worldwide Leader, who were already content giving the Raptors the top seed weeks ago. Arnovitz is a man who dabbles in travel, delicious wines, and basketball teams who pass, so this should be no surprise.

1. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 1)

Wednesday’s riveting overtime win over the Warriors headlined another undefeated week for Toronto, which owns the league’s longest winning streak at eight games. Kyle Lowry missed Saturday’s win at Cleveland with a back injury, with Fred VanVleet, his replacement in the starting lineup, and Delon Wright demonstrating the Raptors’ strong depth. The NBA’s second-best offense is an interesting amalgamation of tactics. The Raps are the league’s fourth-most isolation-heavy team (Leonard ranks sixth in isolations per 100 possessions), yet eighth in percentage of field goal attempts from behind the 3-point line. -- Arnovitz

Interesting amalgmation, indeed. I can almost hear my man Arnovitz saying this on a Lowe Post podcast amidst misty remembrances of the 2014 San Antonio Spurs. I love the Delon Wright shoutout, though, as —for my money, at least — he played the most important stretch of minutes in that Warriors win. His two threes propped up some truly gross bench minutes, allowing the Raptors to hold their lead for a crazy finish.

Now, let’s head over to the land of picture-in-picture video ads and Khadrice Rollins’ weekly rankings for SI.com, which leads with a text message exclusive!

1. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 1)

Nick Nurse know what he doing,” was a text message I received from a friend as he watched a replay of Raptors vs. Heat at 3:45 a.m. last week. Three games later, and it should be clear to everyone that Nick Nurse has this team clicking in a way that could make this a championship or bust year.

Of course, it’s a bit easier to look like you know what you’re doing as a coach when you have Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry putting together amazing seasons. And when you have a guy like Danny Green to light it up from deep and provide serious help on the defensive end. There’s also Pascal Siakam putting together a campaign worthy of earning him the Most Improved Player award. Serge Ibaka is still holding things down in the paint as the rim protector and versatile center against small-ball lineups. Add in Jonas Valanciunas, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Delon Wright and C.J. Miles and it’s even more understandable why Nurse feels so good about his first 24 games on the job. Life couldn’t be much better for his club right now.

Hmm, yes, the Raptors would appear to have many good basketball players. Though I’m a little skeptical about throwing C.J. Miles in there, who has been largely poor this season. Still, can’t complain with number one.

On to NBA.com and the man with the command of digits, Dr. John Schuhmann.

1. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 1)

A perfect week brought Toronto’s league-leading win streak to eight games, and its record to a league-best 20-4.

Toronto opened the week with an impressive road victory over Memphis, who led by as many as 17 points in the game. The team returned home to defeat the defending champion Warriors in overtime, overcoming a 51-point performance from Kevin Durant. The league’s hottest team wrapped the week with an 11-point victory in Cleveland while All-Star guard Kyle Lowry was sidelined with a back injury.

It gets no easier for the Raptors, who host the streaking Nuggets and Sixers to open the week. Toronto closes the week with a visit to Brooklyn before returning home to take on Milwaukee, who is responsible for one of the team’s four losses this season.

Thank you to Mr. Schuhmann for observing the Grizzlies win, which was a huge coup in its own right. Also, the realism at the end is appreciated, as even a number one team has to go through their share of schedule challenges.

Finally, we close with the Matt Moore Memorial Rankings, aka Reid Forgrave’s column at CBS Sports.

1. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 1)

Is 24-year-old Pascal Siakam an actual star in the making? Two and a half years ago he was picked 27th out of New Mexico State before spending a solid chunk of his rookie season in the developmental league. Now Siakam is starting for the NBA’s top team, averaging 14.8 points and 6.4 rebounds and ranking third in the NBA in true shooting percentage. He scored a career-high 26 points in the Raptors playoff-atmosphere win last week over the Warriors. Kyle Lowry is this team’s heart and soul, and Kawhi Leonard is this team’s best player, but Siakam is the guy whose future I’m most excited about.

How dare you mention Siakam’s growth as a player and not mention the spin move, Forgrave! Still, it would appear that the buzz around Siakam only continues to grow, and is now a Real Thing for those people watching the Raptors for the first time. To those people, I implore you, don’t forget about the spin — it’s the most fun thing we have right now.

Now, on to the poll.

Poll

Are the Raptors being ranked fairly in Week 7 of the Power Rankings?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    No, I demand my Raptors be scrappy underdogs
    (45 votes)
  • 42%
    Yes, we are perfect
    (165 votes)
  • 2%
    No, I’m tired of winning
    (9 votes)
  • 43%
    Yes, but.. I’m nervous
    (170 votes)
389 votes total Vote Now