Title: Is the Raptors’ offence actually changing, by the numbers?
Date: October 30, 2017
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I dove into the early-season numbers to see if and how the Raptors offense was actually changing.
Five games is almost nothing. In such a sample, there is a lot of room for noise based on opponent, natural variance, and the primacy effect. Even in a league where the standings after 20 games are often quite predictive of the end-of-season table, it’s five games aren’t enough to extrapolate freely from.
They are enough, though, for the NBA to release player tracking data, and since the first five games of the Toronto Raptors season have been spent analyzing every possession qualitatively for the change that was espoused all preseason, it’s worth looking at the early data – even if it’s messy – to see if the narrative matches the numbers so far.
(All stats to follow courtesy NBA.com unless otherwise noted.)
How is the offence doing?
At this point in the Dwane Casey-DeMar DeRozan-Kyle Lowry era, the Raptors could post a top-10 offensive efficiency mark in their sleep. The changes the team wants to introduce this season aren’t about regular season success as much as sustainability in the playoffs or in the face of injury, and about raising the ceiling down the line by trusting and empowering more players on the floor. They want to score well, of course, but even with an approach many found less aesthetically pleasing in years past, the Raptors graded quite well on the offensive end.