The world of basketball is all about earning respect, and you would have thought that Toronto Raptors NBA win last season may have done that. However, they have been astonishingly left off the top ten in the recent Power Rankings for week six after not making the top ten.
The decision to leave them off the list all together has caused confusion not just for Raptors fans, but NBA fans in general. It was especially surprising considering the form that the Raps have been in, and the calibre of the player that they have been able to keep quiet over recent weeks.
ESPN revealed their top ten just hours before the Raptors hosted the Philadelphia 76ers at the Scotiabank in Toronto. The home side went on to emulate their success from the playoffs; albeit not as dramatically as Kawhi Leonard’s buzzer-beater that marked the beginning of a memorable few weeks in Toronto.
What are the ESPN Power Rankings?
The rankings by one of the leading sports broadcasters in the USA assesses every team in the NBA from their past week of matches. Therefore, the teams that play well and have positive records will be near the top, and the teams on losing runs will be near the bottom.
The omission is particularly surprising when you consider that the Raptors were ninth in the week five rankings, and have won all their games over the past seven days. That form has seen them drop to 11th. It really does beggar belief.
Los Angeles Lakers held on to the top spot with their 14-2 record. They have been at the summit of the ESPN rankings since week three.
Over the past seven days, the Raptors have beaten the Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic and the Atlanta Hawks. Their victories over the Magic and Hawks also saw the Raptors manage to keep their opponents under 100 points.
Why Didn’t They Make Top Ten?
There isn’t a simple explanation to this one, as everybody on social media was bemused with the omission. If you follow the dedicated NBA Math side, then they actually had the Raptors in top spot just 24 hours before the rankings went live. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that some fans were shocked by the omission.
Some Toronto fans claimed that it was crazy not to have the current champions in the top ten despite them having a perfect week. Meanwhile, others lamented that if it was the Golden State Warriors or the Los Angeles Clippers that had that run of results, then they would immediately be number one.
However, the omission is unlikely to keep Raptors fans awake at night as they can rest easy knowing that they are the NBA champions and this season has begun brilliantly.
The Raptors have the third-best record in the league and the fourth-best net rating. Furthermore, their only losses have come on the road against contenders, and they have been playing over recent weeks without Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka.
If we learned anything last season, it is impossible to rule out this team.