The Toronto Raptors finished with the second-best record in the bubble with seven wins and only one loss. As a result, the Raptors have the second-best regular-season record, only behind the Milwaukee Bucks. The most underrated team in the NBA, the Raptors deserve more respect as a favourite to repeat as NBA champions.
The Most Underrated Team in the NBA: The Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors Incredible Defense
The Toronto Raptors defense has been their greatest asset since the NBA bubble began. They have the best defensive rating of 102.7 according to stats.nba.com. They have the second-best defensive percentage of 76.9 and the fourth-best net rating.
There are many Raptors players playing well defensively. OG Anunoby has the highest defensive rating on the Raptors as he is ranked 10th in the NBA bubble. Marc Gasol was 15th, Kyle Lowry 17th, Pascal Siakam 19th, and Stanley Johnson 25th in the NBA bubble.
Their most notable defensive stop was against the Los Angeles Lakers. They limited the Lakers to only nine points in the last six minutes and 38 seconds of the game. This allowed the Raptors to win the game 107-92 over the Lakers.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 2, 2020
The Toronto Raptors are ranked 18th in offense in the bubble. It is a below-average offensive rating. However, since the Raptors defense has been so good the Raptors have been able to pull seven wins in the bubble.
Another @Raptors update: They are now guaranteed to become the first team since the 1973-74 Buffalo Braves to have five players* average at least 15 PPG.
* MIn. 70% of team's GP https://t.co/oYeH2Lfs6H
— Justin Kubatko (@jkubatko) August 13, 2020
The Buffalo Braves (now the Los Angeles Clippers), had Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo. The Braves finished with a record of 42 wins and 40 losses in the 1973-74 NBA season. They ended up losing to the Boston Celtics in six games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The player with the most points in the bubble has been Fred VanVleet. He has averaged 17.8 points per game since the NBA bubble began. Siakam is averaging 16.9 points, while Lowry is averaging 16.7 points per game.
VanVleet also leads in assists per game since the NBA bubble began. He is averaging 6.7 assists per game. Lowry has the second most assists with 5.7 assists per game. The other players are Gasol with 2.6 assists and Siakam with 2.3 assists per game.
There was no game VanVleet shined more than his 36-point effort against the Miami Heat. Due to his efforts, the Toronto Raptors defeated the Heat 107-103.
This is just one of many examples of players stepping up in big situations. This is a big reason why the Raptors are 7-1 in the Orlando bubble.
The Toronto Raptors’ depth has also shown itself in the Orlando bubble. More specifically against the Denver Nuggets and the Bucks.
When the Toronto Raptors faced the Bucks, Matt Thomas and Chris Boucher came up big. Boucher led the team with 25 points while Thomas had 22 points. This allowed the Raptors to take the 114-106 win over the Bucks.
This is what Nick Nurse said about Boucher and Thomas according to the Associated Press.
“The other guys want to play more than they’re playing, and it’s hard to find them room sometimes,” Nurse said. “It’s just a numbers game. I believe in both of them.”
This was not the only time. When The Raptors went against the Nuggets two relatively unknown names stepped up. Johnson had 23 points for the Raptors while Paul Watson had 22 points.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 14, 2020
Serge Ibaka leads the Toronto Raptors with 7.6 rebounds, while Lowry has 6.8 rebounds per game. Lowry having 6.8 rebounds is incredibly impressive for a point guard. The Raptors are an above-average rebounding team as they tend to have around or slightly more rebounds than the opposition.
The Toronto Raptors will need to continue this good work as they head into the NBA playoffs. In particular, getting those defensive rebounds will be crucial to limit the opponent’s offensive rebounds.
Overview of the Toronto Raptors Bubble Review
The Toronto Raptors have performed incredibly well in the bubble. As a result, the Raptors finished with the best winning percentage in franchise history.
The @Raptors wrap up the 2019/20 regular season with the BEST WINNING PERCENTAGE in franchise history! 🔥
— NBA Canada (@NBACanada) August 14, 2020
They finished only 2.5 games behind the Bucks and surpassed the Lakers. These were the two teams the Raptors were chasing throughout the entire 2019-20 NBA season.
The three favourites, the Bucks, Lakers, and the Clippers have the best, third best, and fourth-best records in the NBA. These teams have played well and have a right to be considered a favourite to win the NBA title. However, the Raptors are not too far behind as they are tied for the fourth-highest odds (with the Boston Celtics) to win the NBA title according to Joe Tansey of Bleacher Report.
Also, the Toronto Raptors are the defending NBA champions and have the second-best record in the 2019-20 NBA season. It will be incredibly difficult for any team to defeat them. They will be an extremely difficult team for the Brooklyn Nets to defeat on Monday.
The NBA Playoffs seeds are set, with the #8 seed in the West still to be determined by the Western Conference Play-In between the Trail Blazers and Grizzlies! The first Play-In game tips off on Saturday at 2:30 PM ET on ABC.
— NBA (@NBA) August 15, 2020