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Toronto Raptors season update: Mixed start up north

The 2023-2024 NBA season is almost a quarter of the way through and assumptions can begin to be made about how teams will fare as the campaign progresses.

Our focus here is on the Toronto Raptors and how their season has gone so far. This will include an analysis on their results, top performers, team stats, and current odds for various outright markets.

Results a worry for the Raptors

The Raptors are 8-10 after 18 games which leaves them 11th in the Eastern Conference, one place behind the final play-in berth.

This represents a disappointing start for the side from Toronto, who in the preseason many predicted would make at least the play-in round. Toronto have simply been inconsistent.

They have suffered a couple of losses against teams they should be beating, such as the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, and the surging Orlando Magic.

Yet they have also recorded wins against some of the best teams in the league, like the Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks.

They either need to find consistency or make those big wins a more common occurrence.

In the past two weeks they have played close games against both the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, two of the strongest sides in the East, but the Raptors have also lost by 12 points to the Nets, who were predicted to be one of the worst teams in the league this term.

Articles suggesting the Raptors should trade Pascal Siakam and O.G. Anunoby to start a rebuild continue to circulate and will become more frequent if head coach Darko Rajakovic does not coach some consistency into Toronto soon.

Out of the In-Season Tournament at the first hurdle

Getting beyond the play-in playoff round was always a big ask for Toronto, so many fans would have hoped to see a strong performance in the inaugural In-Season Tournament.

However, Toronto finished fourth in their five-team group and managed just one win - against the Bulls - in their four games. As a result, the Raptors have been eliminated.

Losses to the Nets and Magic, who both matched eventual group winners the Celtics’ record of 3-1, compounded a miserable first in-season tournament for the Raptors.

Toronto shot 38.6% from the field in their 12 point loss to the Nets in their final group game, and a woeful 63.2% from the line, once again highlighting their inconsistency.

Barnes brightens a dim season

Despite their below average start to the season, the Raptors have still had several standout players.

Leading the way in scoring for the Raptors is Siakam, who is averaging 20 points per game. Behind him is their franchise player, 22-year-old Scottie Barnes at 19 points per game. Dennis Schroeder and Anunoby are next best, at 16.8 and 15.5 points per game respectively, before a big drop off to the likes of center Jakob Poeltl and the underperforming Gary Trent Jr.

Their leading rebounder is Barnes, averaging an impressive 9.1 rebounds per game, which is the 17th highest average in the league and the most of any small forward.

The young star is followed in the rebounds category by Poeltl, who is averaging 8.5 rebounds per game, and Siakam, who is averaging 6.8 rebounds per game.

Barnes also ranks amongst the league’s top 10 for steals and top 20 for blocks, averaging 1.6 and 1.3 per game of each respectively, highlighting his importance to the Raptors in all facets of the game despite being just 22.

Schroeder, fresh off the back of his starring role in Germany’s sensational World Cup win earlier in the year, is enjoying somewhat of a comeback following some tough years in the league. He is the Raptors’ leading provider, averaging 6.5 assists per game, a fair bit ahead of next-best Barnes, who is averaging 5.6 assists per game.

Toronto Raptors odds

The Raptors are now priced at +20000 to win the NBA championship, the 10th-longest odds which highlights how disappointing their start to the season has been.

The Raptors are +20000 to win the Atlantic Division, which they share with the 12-5 Philadelphia 76ers and the 14-4 Celtics. Toronto is +8000 to win the Eastern Conference, which would require getting past the Bucks, Celtics, Sixers, and more.

Perhaps what compounds the Raptors’ miserable start most is the fact they are now +205 to make the playoffs and -250 to miss out.

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