The 2021-22 NBA season is less than a week old, but that’s never stopped anyone from overreacting before. Heck, one game doesn’t seem to stop anyone overreacting!
That’s why we turn to our trusted, level-headed friends who run their various power rankings polls each Monday — surely, they won’t let a small sample size adversely affect their judgment! Right?
Let’s check in first with John Schuhmann from NBA.com. John has the Raptors falling, but not too far; given the 1-2 week it certainly could have been much worse!
20. Toronto Raptors (previously: 18)
But bless the Raptors for finishing Week 1 with a losing record and a positive point differential, something comfortably familiar for us wonks who monitor such minutiae.
That does indeed sound familiar for the Raptors!
Schuhmann had good things to say about Scottie Barnes, but, um, fewer good things to say about the offense overall:
Scottie Barnes has been pretty relentless with his attack. Thirty of his 42 field goal attempts have come in the paint, he’s made 18 of those 30 paint shots and his free throw rate (28.6 attempts per 100 shots from the field) is well above the historically low league average (21.4 per 100). But offense has otherwise been ugly on both ends of the floor. In fact, two of the three least efficient performances of Week 1 were the Raptors against Washington on Wednesday (83 points on 107 possessions) and the Celtics against Toronto on Friday (83 on 101). All five guards in the rotation (and OG Anunoby too) have shot worse than 40%.
The truth hurts, you know? This also hurts, John:
It’s a new season, they’re no longer in Tampa, and Pascal Siakam isn’t available to attempt any game-winning shots that roll off the rim.
All right, let’s go visit Zach Harper of the The Athletic. First, a confession. Last week I wrote here that Harper had the Raptors at 14. But this week, he says that last week he had the Raptors at 17. Either I was wrong or Zach changed his ranking since Monday! My money’s on the former.
Regardless, the Raptors faced a pretty steep drop this week. They’re still in Harper’s “Play-in gives them hope” tier, but have fallen five (or eight?) spots to 22:
22. Toronto Raptors (previously:
The Raptors avoided a completely disastrous week with that dominant performance over Boston, but their offense looks like it might be in real trouble until Siakam gets back. The positives are Scottie Barnes looks phenomenal.
Yes, and yes.
Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Goran Dragic, Gary Trent Jr., Svi Mykhailiuk, and Chris Boucher are all shooting under 40 percent from the field while putting up at least five attempts.
The goggles! They do nothing!
Now, for the past couple of seasons we’ve had Colin Ward-Henninger from CBS Sports as the third spoke in our Power Rankings wheel, but it looks like Colin’s retired his rankings for now. So, we’ll go visit our friends at ESPN.com, who have a whole committee of Power People working on their rankings. Here’s what Tim Bontemps had to say about the Raps’ first week on the floor:
22. Toronto Raptors (previously: 20)
If he hadn’t already, rookie Scottie Barnes officially arrived with 25 points and 13 rebounds in Toronto’s blowout win over Boston on Friday. While the Raptors’ roster doesn’t have the high ceiling this season it has been accustomed to in recent years, it does allow Toronto to ensure Barnes gets every possible opportunity to develop.
Well, that’s all very true, also. Listen to these guys and their plain-stated truths! If you’re looking for small-sample-size hot takes, there aren’t any to be found here, not this week.
On to the poll:
Are the incremental power rankings gains enough for the Raptors this week?
This poll is closed
Yes. The opposition was subpar, so a slight gain makes sense.
No. Three wins are three wins! They should be top-15.
Neither. The opposition was so weak they should be dropping.
Don’t know, don’t care. I’m just here ‘cause Gary Trent is fine as hell.