If you told me a year ago that the Toronto Raptors team was “defense first,” I’d be rolling on the floor laughing (probably along with thousands of NBA fans).
But so far in the 2011-2012 season, the Raptors are changing the punchline.
The Raptors seem to be buying into coach Dwane Casey’s defense and team-oriented philosophy and their numbers are showing it. The Raptors now are 13th in the 30-team league for the Points Allowed stat. These are the roughly the same team that finished at the bottom 10% last season.
Another good number the Raptors should be happy about is their number of assists per game. They are #1 in the league with 24 assists per game as a team. What’s makes this stand out is that the Raptors average 34 field goals per game and that means 70% of their field goals facilitated by assists. That’s pretty high by NBA standards.
But it’s still a long season and folks shouldn’t speak the P-word (playoffs) until the teams in the league have jelled.