They've had their ups and downs but Nick Nurse's squad has shown flashes of dominance in the early portions of this season. Full episode of Imman Adan and Katie Heindl discussing early trends is available on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed.
IMMAN ADAN: All right, so the second one, the Raptors. When I wrote this out for you--
--they were the 11th-ranked defense. But the way that the NBA is moving right now, they're currently the 10th-ranked defense in the league. And my question is, do you think that will continue? Do you think the Raptors will be a top-10 defense by the time the season is done? Or do you think they'll fall out? And actually, depending on your answer, I might make that a little bit trickier for, y'all.
KATIE HEINDL: Oh, great. [LAUGHS] This isn't why I agreed to come on, Imman.
I actually was a little bit dubious of the Raptors' defensive strategies going into the season, just because of how they kind of looked in seasons like-- well, Tampa was its own thing, and then immediately following. Definitely a lot worse--
IMMAN ADAN: Tampa?
KATIE HEINDL: --last season. Yeah, never heard of her?
IMMAN ADAN: Never heard of her. Oh, the Scottie Barnes getting year.
KATIE HEINDL: Yeah.
IMMAN ADAN: Gotcha.
KATIE HEINDL: Yeah, yeah. That's--
--how we refer to that year from now on. But I think they can't fall out. This is where Nick Nurse like stakes pretty much his entire coaching identity, right? And like this is how the team is sort of staked its identity.
Even if they haven't always backed it up, it's still seen as this kind of like backbone of the Toronto Raptors. So they can actually afford to fall out, I think, of top 10. I'd say even like, top-- I mean, they want like top five. But I'd say even like, yeah, top seven, top eight.
IMMAN ADAN: OK, because that was gonna be me making it harder. It's like, if you said yes to top 10, which I kind of feel like is an easy one, top five?
KATIE HEINDL: [LAUGHS] Not-- I would say probably not until--
IMMAN ADAN: [? Fix, ?] yeah.
KATIE HEINDL: --end of December, early January. Like, there's some things that really need to clarify that I think will be more clarified with like lineups getting kind of pin down. But yeah, it's gonna take a little while, I think.