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. 2: The San Antonio Spurs are clearly better than the Raptors

The Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs first played back on November 5th, when the Spurs were playing rookie big Victor Wembanyama at power forward and playing without a point guard. The Raptors snuck out a win in overtime with a starting lineup of five players not currently playing for the Raptors (three were traded, two are injured).

They met again a month ago, with Wembanyama now fully optimized at center and point guard Tre Jones playing a much more prominent role. They Raptors, on the other hand, had reshaped their roster after a quartet of Trade Deadline deals. The result was a 122-99 beatdown of the Raptors.

Rookie of the Year favorite Wembanyama was unstoppable. He scored 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting, pulled down 14 rebounds and blocked a whopping 10 shots, completely stymying the Toronto offense. Even with Scottie Barnes and Jakob Poeltl in the lineup they were helpless against the future face of the league. Barnes scored just seven points on 3-for-15 shooting, while Immanuel Quickley scored just seven of his own on 2-for-12 shooting.

Now the Raptors are outmatched and not whole, while Wembanyama only continues to get better every week. Barnes is a great player, but he is both not on Wemby's level (already) and not healthy. The Spurs are still figuring things out and the pieces don't all fit great together, but they have a rising superstar that makes them clearly a better team than the Raptors.