Toronto Raptors Math: Analyzing some of the key statistics from December

(Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
(Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /

Each month we will take an analytical look at the stats and numbers posted by the Toronto Raptors in order to make sense of this team and how it’s trending.

The Toronto Raptors have set the league on fire this season, but in December the team has exposed their vulnerabilities. While they are far from ordinary, statistics show that they did not have the juggernaut play this month that Toronto fans have come to expect.

What were the key statistics this month? We take a look at the four most important numbers of December.


The Raptors just completed their worst month of the season. They recorded seven losses in the month of December. Their previous high was only three.

The increase in loses can be attributed to a myriad of factors including opponents played, rest, pre-scouting, etc. However, one reason stands out more than others. In the Month of December, injuries hit the team hard. They were unable to dress their full squad for even a single game. Not only did the Raptors play zero games with a fully healthy roster, but many of those man games missed due to injury came from their starters.

Norman Powell, a key member of the bench mob, was relinquished to a left shoulder subluxation on November 6th and did not return to play a game until the second week of December. Powell is not the key to the team’s success, but his absence was felt, especially when the team’s offence would run dry for extended spurts in games.

Kyle Lowry also missed significant time with a sore back. He since missed seven games and played two under speculation that he was not fully healthy (December 7 vs Brooklyn Nets where he scored 3 points on 5 shots and December 9 where he was held pointless vs Milwaukee Bucks).

Kawhi Leonard missed a pair of games with an injured right hip. Serge Ibaka missed three games with the knee injury that was also a problem for him in November. Both Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam missed the game in Denver with injured backs.

We witnessed Jonas Valanciunas dislocate his thumb against the Golden State Warriors on the 12th and were told he would miss four weeks. Without his presence, the Raptors have noticeably declined in their play in the paint.

As if it wasn’t already difficult to play without these players, the Raptors were missing even more throughout the month. Danny Green (bruised left knee), Chris Boucher (sprained left ankle), and Malachi Richardson (illness) all also missed time. This league is tough enough without the hurdles of playing shorthanded. The Raptors hope they can get and stay healthy soon.


The month of December could have been better for the Raptors. Their record of 8-7 was only13th best in the league. Their fortunes could have been much different if they didn’t struggle so badly from beyond the arc.

On the season, the Raptors are ranked 25th in the association in three-point percentage. In the month of December, their 32.3-percentage ranked 28th. For a team that shoots a lot of threes (33.1 attempts per game), they sure do miss a lot (22.4 per game). Those misses are enough to tilt games in their opponents’ favour.

The shooting woes were not consistent throughout the entire roster. There were a number of Raptors with respectable numbers. Leonard shot 39.1-percent, Fred VanVleet 38.7-percent, OG Anunoby 38.3-percent, and Danny Green at 36.9-percent from deep. Everyone else on the team shot under 30-percent.

The two players who shot the most three-pointers with limited success were C.J. Miles and Kyle Lowry. Miles shot 25.5-percent on an average of 3.6 shots per game. That hurts the team, but not as much as Lowry’s struggles from deep. He hit 22.4-percent on 7 attempts per game.

With all those shots going up, he was making less than two per game. Things need to improve in this category for the team to be more successful. When Lowry returns from injury, he will hopefully find more success in his accuracy. If his struggles continue, he will have to work with the coaching staff to decide whether it is better for the Raps if he took fewer attempts from distance and focused more on driving to the hoop and hurting opponents from the midrange.

201 cm & 104.3 kg

After three months of balling with the Raptors, Kawhi Leonard personifies #WeTheNorth. He has used his impressive frame to muscle through opponents all season. While we are constantly looking to analyze how happy he is, there is no doubt, that he must be pleased with his play. While the team struggled, Leonard had his best month as a Raptor.

He improved in nearly every meaningful statistical category since November. In December, Leonard took more shots, made more by volume and percentage, put up more points, three-pointers and rebounds per game, and gotten himself to the free throw line more often. This is the superstar that the Raptors thought they were getting when they traded for him back in July.

His elite play is drawing multiple defenders on every possession and yet he still has not been slowed down. His final stat line for the month was 29.1 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.7 SPG, 49.4-percent FG percentage, and 39.1-percent three-point percentage. Leonard has been doing everything right and continues to look better every night as he continues this tear into January. If he is able to replicate this play in the playoffs, it will be hard for any opponent to find a player who can shut him down.


The attendance at Scotiabank Arena this year has been superb. The Raptors have the third-best attendance in the NBA this season. They are averaging 19,820 fans per game. The story could be that that is 20 fans above the listed capacity, but there is something far more interesting tied to their attendance.

Last season, the Raptors were selling out at home, just as they are now. On the road, they were not the same draw. Despite finishing first in the Eastern Conference with 59 wins, they were 22nd in the league at drawing fans on the road, averaging 17,673 per game. When those in Toronto complain that their team and city does not get the respect it deserves, this statistic makes clear that there is some credibility to the claim.

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Things have changed this year. Likely, thanks to the presence of the must-see player, Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors are bringing out more road fans. Though it might not seem much better, they are attracting 281 more paying customers per contest.

The total difference for the season is 11,521. In 2017-18, their opponents sold an average of 92-percent of their tickets when the Raptors were in town. This year, that is up to 94.3-percent. They now have the 9th best visitor attendance record in the league. This basketball team is clearly turning more heads this season than just those in Toronto.