NBA standings vs. above .500 teams: Raptors put up disappointing number

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 8: Fred VanVleet #23 and Malachi Flynn #22 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 8: Fred VanVleet #23 and Malachi Flynn #22 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors find themselves right in the middle of a very tough Eastern Conference play-in race, as the twin misfortunes of overall disappointing play and a very formidable Eastern Conference have made it difficult for them to gain ground.

The Raptors’ biggest issue last season was that they often played down to competition, losing all of the wind they had in their sails after an upset victory by losing to a team that was not good enough. Toronto has been beating up on the dregs of the league this season.

The Raptors may have 32 wins on the season, but they have an 11-2 record against the Rockets, Spurs, Pistons, Hornets, and Magic. Toronto has taken care of business when needed, but they have very rarely played above their potential against elite competition.

If the NBA standings only considered performance against teams with an overall record of .500, Toronto would be much worse off.

NBA standings vs. teams with record over .500: Raptors disappoint

Western Conference

  1. Denver Nuggets (21-11)
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves (16-16)
  3. Phoenix Suns (17-18)
  4. Golden State Warriors (15-16)
  5. Dallas Mavericks (16-17)
  6. Memphis Grizzlies (15-17)
  7. Sacramento Kings (13-19)
  8. Portland Trail Blazers (13-21)
  9. Los Angeles Lakers (14-25)
  10. New Orleans Pelicans (13-22)
  11. Utah Jazz (13-23)
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder (13-24)
  13. Los Angeles Clippers (12-25)
  14. San Antonio Spurs (8-26)
  15. Houston Rockets (7-31)

While teams near the top of the standings like Memphis and Sacramento appear to have benefitted from feasting against subpar competition, other contenders like Denver and Phoenix have performed well enough. Minnesota being .500 at 16-16 was genuinely surprising.

Eastern Conference

  1. Milwaukee Bucks (23-11)
  2. Boston Celtics (22-13)
  3. Philadelphia 76ers (19-12)
  4. New York Knicks (18-18)
  5. Atlanta Hawks (15-16)
  6. Miami Heat (15-18)
  7. Cleveland Cavaliers (14-18)
  8. Brooklyn Nets (13-19)
  9. Chicago Bulls (15-20)
  10. Washington Wizards (14-21)
  11. Toronto Raptors (14-23)
  12. Orlando Magic (12-24)
  13. Indiana Pacers (12-24)
  14. Charlotte Hornets (11-27)
  15. Detroit Pistons (8-31)

The Raptors have shown to be very poor when it comes to taking down some of the best teams in the league, as both Chicago and Washington have beaten them out in this area. Play-in competitor Atlanta has shown a weird competency in this particular area.

The key to the Raptors becoming a team that can make some noise in the playoffs is figuring out how to play at their best against top-flight competition. Failing to do so will not only ensure that they will miss the playoffs for the second time in the last four seasons, but it might also cause some fans to lose confidence in the front office and the direction they want to take this team in.

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