Power rankings, Week 1: Nuggets, Bucks lead as 2023-24 begins

2022-23 Registration: 41-41

OffRtg: 114.6 (13) DefRtg: 113.1 (11) NetRtg: +1.5 (12) Speed: 97.9 (25)

The Raptors took a step back with the departure of Fred VanVleet, but improvement is possible with a new coach, the continued development of Scotty Barnes and a full season with Jacob Poeldel. Style of play numbers correlate more from the regular season to the preseason, and the Raptors’ preseason marks a big change in the way they play.

Preseason

  • The Raptors had the league’s second-highest pace improvement and the largest improvement in assist ratio (AST/FGM) from last season to the season before.
  • They’ve had success offensively inside, as (when you include games against international teams) they’re second in percentage of their shots in the paint (54%) and second in paint field goal percentage (62.8%). Throw rate (37 attempts per 100 shots from the field).
  • Barnes didn’t hesitate when he got open beyond the arc. At least 35 field goal attempts. But he suffered a leg injury in the previous season finale.

* 3 more points than he had in 17 games last season.

The Raptors were one of two undefeated teams in the preseason and had the first-ranked defense and sixth-ranked offense in games played among NBA teams, outscoring the Kings, Bulls and Wizards by 16.7 points per 100 possessions, the league’s best mark. But a big part of that point difference came in the second half of Friday’s 76-46 win against Washington.

What to watch for in Week 1: Results. Games against the Wolves, Bulls and Sixers will be a good test of how good the Raptors can be this season.

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The Raptors have two rest-disadvantage games in the first 10 days of the season, and both are against the Sixers. The first of the two is Saturday at Scotiabank Arena.

Week 1: vs. MIN, @ CHI, vs. PHI

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