The playoffs are coming.
All sorts of evil enemies await the Raptors in the Eastern Conference playoffs and they’re going to need to be ready. Despite being a full-blown Dinosaur the Raptors still need to go up against Wizards, Cavaliers and whatever the hell a Celtic is and that’s going to require some toughness. After Serge Ibaka channeled his inner Oakley on Tuesday and the Raptors finally vanquished the Bulls a profoundly important question emerged: Are the Raptors tough?
For the purpose of this scientific investigation each player will be awarded a number out of 30 based on the following three categories ranked out of 10:
1.History. Does this player have any past tendencies of violence? Are there skeletons in the closet? How hard is his youtube resume?
2. Presence. Does this player look tough? Does he have the skills necessary for a fight? Can he get it done?
3. Chances of an average person beating him up. This is the classic question? How would you do in a fight? This is the most subjective, but also the most important. Would you win? *Note, this ranking will be reversed for the overall mark – i.e if you only have a 2/10 chance of beating up a player that player is awarded an 8 in that category.
To get rid of any bias we’re going to attack this list randomly. This is science, after all.
History – 2/10. There is no evidence of a Caboclo fight. Either he is a trained assassin that has wiped the internet clean of all his wrong doing or he’s Bruno Caboclo. Here’s a video of him reverse dunking a month ago with all the ferocity of monarch butterfly, but other than that nothing. The 2 rating is symbolic of his years away from being tough.
Presence – 1/10. Bruno is long, so the reach is promising but he legitimately looks and acts like the nicest person ever.
Chances – 7/10. He’s 6’9 and 205 lbs but that weight is spread out. Find your opening and take it, those legs are thin, man.
Overall – 6/30
History – 4/10. Cory Joseph doesn’t exactly fight, but he mixes it up enough to earn the 4. He grabbed a double tech against Tristan Thompson last year and this video of him dunking on the current toughest Raptor is hard as hell.
Presence – 3/10. CoJo is arguably the most handsome dude in all of basketball and his smile gives away any perceived toughness. He also has dad-swag on the court and while dads are the strongest people in the world they aren’t NBA tough. He’s still Canadian though, and tougher than Bruno.
Chances – 6/10. Cory looks the most like a “regular guy” and therefore your chances of beating him up are probably the highest. We don’t recommend trying it though.
History – 3/10. Delon Wright’s career length is his biggest drawback here. He simply hasn’t racked up the minutes to be tough. He brother hasn’t done much either to help him with his future legacy and until we see more he’s going to sit below Cory.
Presence – 3/10. This is a dude who still wore braces last year, and while there’s no disrespect being given for corrective dental procedures it does hurt his overall image.
Chances – 6/10. He’s skinny but long. His reach is his greatest asset but if you turn this into a ground and pound game early you have a legitimate shot.
Overall – 10/30
History – 6/10. DeMar DeRozan has never been suspended and is widely considered one of the most straight-up dudes in the NBA. That doesn’t mean he’s soft though. Here’s a very odd clip of him whipping a ball in the Drew League five years ago and that thing has some mustard on it.
Presence – 8/10. DeMar DeRozan is not, by any means a big player, but try telling that to him. Remember this last night? He also had to tackle Ibaka during the right and if the one game sample isn’t enough for you then just tune in next time.
Chances – 2/10. DeRozan might let you beat him up just to make you feel better about yourself. Other than that there’s not a chance you get a shot in.
History – 8/10. Like DeRozan, Carroll has never been suspended but that doesn’t mean he’s without some stories. He just got into it with Isaiah Thomas three weeks ago and DeRozan said recently on a Zach Lowe podcast that he loves to trash talk on the court. He was also shot, like with a gun back in 2007 so there’s that.
Presence – 7/10. Carroll looks pretty scary, but also takes great pains in doing so. He loves to shop, takes care of his hair and it’s hard to be super intimidating when you’re only on the court so often.
Chances – 2/10. Like DeRozan, the only way to beat Carroll would be through some loophole and in this case it’s his clothes. Attack the fashion, win the fight.
Overall – 23/30
History – 4/10. Jonas Valanciunas has very little history of fighting, or even fighting for rebounds. His inconsistency in the toughness department is maddening. Here’s a video of him flinching against DeMarcus Cousins during FIBA play.
Presence – 7/10. Any big dude with a shaved head and a giant beard is scary. There’s just no way around that. Regardless of whether you know JV or not that look he had going against the Bulls was downright concerning.
Chances – 4/10. He’s just so big. The average dude has virtually no chance of beating him up, but everyone has a weakness. Bring a hammer to the itty bitty baller workshop and watch him crumble.
Overall – 17/30
History – 3/10. Kyle Lowry is no stranger to getting in the middle of things but in the toughness matrix his history hurts him. He’s a known flopper and is the prime example of “bark bigger than bite”
Presence – 5/10. Lowry plays through injuries, eats up minutes and isn’t afraid to get in the middle of things. He still looks baby-faced no matter how old he gets though and players aren’t afraid to go at him.
Chances – 6/10. KLOE probably means Kyle Lowry Over You as well but don’t you like your chances? Can’t you envision a flop you take advantage of? Lowry’s fake toughness is good in the NBA but in the real world you have a shot on a good day.
Overall – 12/30
History – 9/10. We all know what happened on Tuesday night by now and while a suspension is likely on the way for Ibaka it feels like it was worth it. No one was hurt, the Raptors went on to win and the newest member of the team stepped up the most. Oh he’s also scrapped Lamarcus Aldrdige and taken on Blake Griffin and Matt Barnes at the same time. Awesome.
Presence – 9/10. Ibaka isn’t just a tall athletic shot-blocker. He’s also jacked man. Guys spend their whole lives trying to look that imposing. He has the perception of being soft-spoken but his game clearly talks for itself.
Chances – 1/10. The “1” is only applicable if you have eight dudes with you and they’re all fresh off a round of shots at Cabana Pool Bar. Other than that you have no shot at beating up Ibaka, just ask anyone in the NBA.
Overall – 27/30
History 5/10 – Pat Patterson was a pretty famous WWF fighter back in the day but this Pat Patterson doesn’t enjoy throwing down. It’s not like he just takes it either, he just seems like a pretty rational guy.
Presence 6/10 – Patterson is constantly asked to play bigger than his frame (just ask the Bulls in the fourth quarter) and he thrives in those situations. If you’re a “glue guy” you have to be tough and Patterson comes complete with the tough guy scowl. PatPat and smiles don’t exactly get along either, just look how startling this picture is.
Chances 2/10. Again, Patterson doesn’t have a history of fighting but he does have a history of playing hard as nails. You can try and catch him on a cold streak but he does enough of the little things to win out in the end.
Overall – 19/30
History – 9/10. Tucker’s history is strong enough just by looking at the games he played against the Raptors. He’s served a suspension for elbowing Blake Griffin (no one likes that dude eh?) and his passionate post game rant after the Bulls win is worth watching twice.
Presence – 10/10. He’s not the tallest guy on the court but he’s certainly one of the biggest. 6’6 and 245 lbs of muscle is scary no matter who you are. Call it stereotypical but the tattoos help as well.
Chances – 0/10. No words necessary.
Fred Van Vleet
History 5/10 – Trying to find evidence of Van Vleet fighting is like trying to find a hole in the game he played against the Bulls. With little to no evidence of any fights we have to go on his play in college and the 905 and he’s been tough in both. He’s not about to start throwing bows but man he plays hard.
Presence – 4/10 – With a soft name like Van Vleet you’re already starting with your hands tied. Add in the questionable facial hair and the only thing saving him are the tattoos. He’s big for his height but doesn’t exactly scream fighter.
Chances 4/10 – Van Vleet is sneaky tough. That’s till a good quality to have, and it means you’re likely not coming close to getting him in a fight but the odds are a little higher based on his lack of historical tough-guy evidence.
History – 3/10 – Siakam has had limited run lately as well and in this interview showed off his french singing skills while saying JV would win a team Royal Rumble. Both of those things seriously hurt him and he’ll need to work extra hard on his toughness resume in the coming years.
Presence – 5/10. He’s still skinny but his energy is off the charts and that can often turn into toughness in a hurry. Any time you block shots like this you’ve got to be some sort of tough and it’s only going to get better for Siakam.
Chances – 4/10 6’9 and 230 lbs is actually heavier than it looks and those numbers feel a little inflated. Siakam’s also super nice so if you want to be a real prick and earn his trust before taking him down you might have a chance.
Overall – 14/30
History – 6/10. Like his fellow young Raptors there’s little history of BeBe throwing his weight around but this video of him dropping his pants to distract Derrick Favors exists and if that’s not one of the coldest moves you’ve ever seen then you must be soft as hell.
Presence – 4/10. His height and ability to block shots is always going to be good enough for a few toughness points but that hair is really dragging him down. It looks excellent but belongs with Van Vleet’s goatee on the hairstyle softness all-star team.
Chances – 4/10. His inexperience might let you get the inside track if you’re someone who enjoys fighting but his height seems insurmountable for the average guy.
Overall – 16/30
History – 7/10. It’s very difficult to find evidence of Norman Powell in a fight anywhere but it’s not hard to find vicious dunk after vicious dunk with the bodies of his victims strewn across the internet. It’s tough to dunk a basketball and that thereby automatically implies that Norman Powell has toughness. Case closed.
Presence – 8/10. The dunks alone make Powell’s presence scary and his goatee is a little less refined than Van Vleet’s so there’s still some edginess attached to it. He’s also all muscle, tattooed and screams a lot and anyone who screams that much can’t be trusted. He’s bona fide terrifying.
Chances – 2/10. There’s like three scenarios where an average dude beats up Norman Powell and none of them are realistic. Sit this one out.
Overall – 23/30
It took 2,000 words but it’s safe to say that the Raptors are tough. That’s really good news.
*Jakob Poeltl is not tough.