Northern Neighbour wrote:
Share your grades of the team overall and the individual players and coaches (if you will) through the first quarter of the season.
Record: 17-4 (1st overall in the NBA, 1st in the Eastern Conference)
Strength of schedule: 25th (opponents have just a .471 winning percentage, but then again Toronto doesn't play against itself)
Offensive rating: 111.9 (3rd behind Golden State and Milwaukee)
Defensive rating: 102.8 (5th behind OKC, Boston, Memphis, and Denver)
Net rating: +9.1 (2nd behind Milwaukee, who are an eye-popping +11)
Pace: 104.1 (10th)
FG%: 48.8 (3rd)
Three-point %: 34.2 (20th)
eFG%: 55.2 (3rd)
TS%: 58.4 (3rd)
Assists: 25.6 (7th)
Assist ratio: 18.2 (7th)
Turnovers - 15.6 (21st)
Turnover ratio: 13.2 (18th - one big flag)
Rebounding ratio: 51.9 (6th - a big improvement over the last 3 weeks)
Steals: 8.5 (9th)
Blocks: 5.5 (13th)Overall: A-
Hard to complain about a 17-4 record, although the Raps easily could be 19-2 after blowing a big lead against Detroit and losing an 8-point lead late against Boston.
The chemistry has been quick to develop, particularly with the starting unit of Lowry, Green, Leonard, Siakam, and Ibaka/JV. Either lineup has been destroying teams. While there have been semblance of the iso attack of the past, the ball movement has been pretty good and improving. The team is creating a ton of open looks each game – just need to make them, especially from distance. While the 3-point shooting has been below average, that should improve over the course of the season as Miles, Leonard, FVV, Wright, OG, and even Lowry find their form.
Rebounding, which was a big concern through the first month of the season, has been drastically better in November. The gang rebounding approach is starting to set in with Leonard leading the charge. Ibaka, while he still struggles on the defensive glass, has seen a significant uptick in his offensive rebounding. Siakam is also on pace to set a career high.
The defence has been good and outstanding in stretches. But like the offence, there is room for improvement, specifically when it comes to playing a full 48 minutes instead of turning it on when they want to.
Biggest concerns are turnovers and the bench. On the former, many of the turnovers are of the careless variety as the team pushes the ball and forces passes. This should get better as the guys get more comfortable with one another. A reason for the high turnovers is the lack of continuity, especially concerning the bench. Injuries have prevented the team for running with a set second unit, and there is a lack of fluidity and flow in their play.
Scary to think a 17-4 team is still far off from reaching its ceiling. Nick Nurse: A
He's done a great job at integrating Leonard and Green into the team and adding a few wrinkles, namely starting Siakam and using Ibaka and JV at centre. The Xs and Os part has been pretty good, and he and his staff have done a very good job at making halftime adjustments. The biggest indication of the job he's done is how hard the team plays each and every game. They've had really one off game, but that was on the second of a back-to-back against Milwaukee and the team didn't have Leonard for that game.Kyle Lowry: A+
He's been outstanding on both ends of the court. He's facilitating and hitting big shots. He plays hard defensively and once again leads the league in charges. If there's one complaint is the turnovers. He's been the primary individual who has been forcing passes. Otherwise, he's been great and arguably the team's MVP. Fred VanVleet: C-
FVV has had an inconsistent start to the season, where he's struggled for long stretches, held on to the ball too long, looked for his shot instead of facilitating, and just forcing things. His game is slowly coming together, as he's played well the past couple of games. A case of turf toe definitely played a factor in his sporadic efficiency. The second unit needs him at full health and at his best to succeed. Delon Wright: C-
Like his backcourt mate, Wright has had a topsy-turvy first quarter. A leg injury at the end of the pre-season stalled his start to the season, and once back he's been hesitant with the ball and not attacking the paint. His defence is coming around, where he's starting to make a lot of little plays (steals, rebounds) to help the club. He's slowly finding his shooting range, too. Lorenzo Brown: C+
He is what he is - a dependable fourth PG who can play well in spurts. He's limited offensively, but contributes where he can (solid corner 3-point shooter) and plays defence. Danny Green: A+
Leadership, defence, 3-point shooting. Green has given the Raptors everything and more that was expected of him. He's quickly emerged as a fan favorite with his affable personality and embracing the city of Toronto. One surprise has been his floater in the lane, which he didn't show a whole lot in San Antonio. Norman Powell: INC
A dislocated shoulder cut his first quarter short, so it's hard to give him a complete grade. When he was healthy, he was showing signs of putting a disappointing 2017-18 season behind him, playing solid defence, making his shots, and not forcing the issue. He should be back in a couple of weeks.Kawhi Leonard: A-
He's come as advertised – great defender, clutch shooter, and one of the NBA's best two-way players. He showed some rust early one and continues to work out the kinks in his game, such as his 3-point shooting. He gets a bit too ball dominant at times, where the offence just stops when he gets the ball, but he's shown improvement in this area the last week. Once he gets comfortable within the offence, look out! His rebounding ability has been outstanding and an often overlooked aspect of his game. C.J. Miles: D-
The grade could also be an F as Miles hasn't provided the expected and necessary outside shooting to the club. When he's not making baskets, he's a liability on the court defensively. With Powell closing in on a return, Miles will need to find his shooting touch or risk losing his spot in the rotation. Pascal Siakam: A+
Most expected him to make a leap in his play, but he's elevated his game even beyond most optimistic expectations. He ranks within the top-10 to -20 in most advanced stats. For instance, his 130.4 ORtg is fourth in the NBA, he's 9th in win shares at 2.8, and 17th in BPM at 5.3. He's been outstanding, and he's only getting better.OG Anunoby: B-
Off-court issues have seen the 2nd-year pro miss time and then he's been hampered by a couple of minor injuries. When he's on the court, he's still contributing as a versatile defensive wing. His offense is rounding into form, as he's hitting his outside show with greater consistency while showing a bit of ball handling. Serge Ibaka: A-
The first quarter of the season has been a renaissance of sorts for the big man from The Republic of the Congo. He's making his shots, his rebounding is improving, and he's more decisive with the ball. He's also limited his turnovers, where he doesn't make the careless dribble-drive fumble. His defence has been very good, although he could improve on P&R coverage. Can he keep this up for an entire season? Jonas Valunciunas: B+
In limited minutes (averaging less than 20 a game), he's putting up pretty big numbers from an efficiency perspective. His 36-minutes numbers are off the charts. He's top-15 in PER, and his defence, long been a criticism, is much improved. Consistency from game-to-game is still a bit of an issue, where he's good for 3 games and then takes a game off. His net rating of +19 is second on the club to Siakam.
Incomplete grades for Greg Monroe
, Malachi Richardson
, Chris Boucher
, and Jordan Loyd