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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No. 3: The Portland Trail Blazers are clearly better than the Raptors

Do you want some more tangible proof of a team below the Raptors in the standings being better than them? Look no further than last weekend, when Toronto arrived in Portland to take on the equally injury-riddled Trail Blazers. In fact, it's not difficult to conclude the Blazers are even more hurt than the Raptors, as they played without Jerami Grant, Malcolm Brogdon, Robert Williams and Shaedon Sharpe.

Despite missing its entire veteran core, the Blazers' young players stepped up and delivered the 128-118 victory over Toronto. Specifically, in what is becoming a theme for the Poeltl-less Raptors, center Deandre Ayton clobbered Kelly Olynyk and company to the tune of 30 points and 19 rebounds. Anfernee Simons chipped in 23 points of his own, while former Raptors point guard Dalano Banton played a whopping 42 minutes and scored 25 points; he was a game-high +18.

The Blazers have had a bad season but they are clearly a better team than their record. They have solid depth in the backcourt with five legitimate rotation players, so even with two key guards out they could field a rotation of Banton (low-key breaking out in Portland), Simons and rookie Scoot Henderson, who is shaking off early injury woes and poor shooting to change the narrative on his season.

The Raptors just could not keep up. They are likewise leaning hard on their available players but don't have the depth options to fill in behind when players are injured. They are reaching to the back of the roster and the two-way slots to find minutes and finding players worthy of being at the end of a roster and on two-way deals. A team like the Trail Blazers is reaching back and finding uncut gems.