5 teams the Raptors are clearly worse than despite their records

The Toronto Raptors are short-handed, injury-riddled and ill-fitting. Even teams below them in the standings are better than they are - here's why.
Ochai Agbaji, Toronto Raptors and Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons
Ochai Agbaji, Toronto Raptors and Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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This season has fast become a lost one for the Toronto Raptors. Despite a breakout season for Scottie Barnes and plenty of veteran talent on both sides of the Trade Deadline, the Raptors have been stuck outside the playoff picture all year. With Barnes and Jakob Poeltl both injured, their chances of pushing up and into the postseason are gone.

For a team with a lot of talent and a lot of pride, however, it is a painful reality to state the following: the Raptors were thought to be better than their record all season, but as they ride a five-game losing streak as of Friday morning it's clear that they are in fact worse than their record.

That's not meant as a full-strength evaluation; with Barnes and Poeltl healthy and playing they would be a better team. Yet so would nearly every other team near the bottom of the standings (except for the Washington Wizards; they are both healthy and terrible as their best players appear to be taking money to throw games).

With the roster of players currently available, the Raptors are a truly abysmal team. Let's look at five teams the Raptors are clearly worse than despite having a better record.

No. 5: The Memphis Grizzlies are clearly better than the Raptors

The Raptors are currently locked in the most depressing of battles with the Memphis Grizzlies for the sixth-worst record in the NBA. If Toronto can win fewer games than Memphis the rest of the way they will slide into that sixth slot and nearly double their chances of keeping their Top-6 protected pick currently owed to the San Antonio Spurs from the Jakob Poeltl trade.

That task may be easier than it looks. While both the Grizzlies and Raptors have been hit hard by injury, the Raptors have had veteran players disappoint with increased opportunity, while the Grizzlies are getting valuable contributions from unproven players they are elevating into larger roles.

Vince Williams Jr. earned a long-term contract from his unexpected play as a defensive wing, while rookie second-rounder GG Jackson II has been one of the most efficient rookies in the league. Players most NBA fans have never heard of, DeJon Jarreau, and Trey Jemison, are playing key roles. There is no question that the Grizzlies are a better team right now than the Toronto Raptors.