There was a lot of talk this offseason about what the next step was for the Toronto Raptors and whether or not it was time for them to make some changes. Well, after the first few games of the season, there’s a chance those changes could be coming sooner rather than later. The Raptors have dropped three straight games and will host the Milwaukee Bucks tonight, so with a formidable opponent coming to town, I only see their early season woes continuing.
It is still very early in the NBA season, so a lot could change over time, but for the time being, the concerns about the Raptors offense are warranted. After scoring just 91 points against a Trail Blazers team that ranks in the bottom third of the league in defensive efficiency rating, Toronto is now ranked dead last in the league in offensive efficiency.
Shooting was a concern for this team coming into the season, and those concerns have turned into reality. With an effective field goal percentage of 48.7% and a true shooting percentage of 51.3%, Toronto is among the top three worst shooting teams in the league. Through four games, the Raptors are getting 45.2% of their points in the paint, and while that percentage is within the top half of the league, they have not figured out how to produce points elsewhere.
The only thing Toronto has going for them this season is their defense. With a defensive efficiency rating of (103.5), the Raptors rank 4th in the league, but tonight will mark just the second time they’ve played a team in the top 15 for offensive rating. Milwaukee enters this meeting off an eight-point win over the Heat and with a 2-1 record overall.
It’s hard to deny the fact that the Bucks will be a real threat in the East, but it could take a while for them to gel together. The Bucks have shot it well for the most part, as they currently boast the 6th best true shooting percentage, but they have also looked out of sorts on the other end of the floor. For as much talent as the team has, their NET rating of (-2.2) ranks 17th, and the reason they are in the negative is due to a poor defensive efficiency.
In their first road game of the season, the Milwaukee Bucks are listed as (-5) point favorites, and I think they’ll be too much offensively for the Raptors to keep pace with. In the one game that Toronto played against a ten inside the top 15 in offensive rating, they allowed 114 points as the combo of Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey was too much for them. Now, they need to deal with Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Bucks have started the season as a middle-of-the-pack team in terms of three-point shooting percentage, but their volume has been there, with an average of 37 attempts per game. I can only see their shooting percentage from three improving moving forward as Lillard and Giannis get more comfortable with each other on the floor.
For the Raptors offensively, I don’t see their shooting percentages improving over time, and the fact that they are 21st in three-point percentage does not bode well for them keeping it close tonight. Milwaukee’s defensive numbers aren’t where they should be quite yet, but they still have a few defensive-minded players in their rotation that could bother guys like Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakim.
Milwaukee Bucks (-5)