The Unbelievably Unbalanced Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors have been the epitome of an average team this season. They’ve won five games and lost five games. They’ve beaten some good teams, such as the 7-3 Cavaliers, and lost to some bad teams, like the 2-8 Grizzlies.

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But as True Hoop’s Kevin Arnovitz writes, if the Raptors continue to play like this the rest of the year, they might become the most unique average team in history.

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The Raptors lead the league in offensive efficiency, averaging 113 points per 100 possessions, a full two points per 100 possessions higher than second-place Atlanta. Chris Bosh is having a spectacular year, and for now, the addition of Hedo Turkoglu combined with the emergence of Andrea Bargnani has opened up the floor for everyone.

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But here’s the problem: the defense is just as bad as the offense is good. Toronto is currently allowing an average of 112.1 points per 100 possessions, the worst mark in the league.

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So, to review, Toronto currently boasts the league’s best offense and its worst defense. No wonder they are a .500 club.

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Arnovitz is mostly optimistic about this, thinking that Toronto could easily improve it’s defense without having the offense suffer so much.

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Average those offensive and defensive ratings out and you’ve got a .500 ball club. But if Toronto can take a page from the old Phoenix Suns playbook and scoot that ranking up to the middle of the pack, they’re likely to be a very interesting team after the All-Star break.

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That sounds great in theory, but the problem is that the very qualities that make Toronto so good offensively make them so bad defensively. Because of the way they play, if Toronto were to play more defensive-oriented players, then their offense will suffers. It’s a catch-22 that you’d think they should have seen coming before committing so much long-term money to this mix of players.

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