Do the Raptors Win More When Drake Sits Courtside?
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Do the Raptors Win More When Drake Sits Courtside?

The Raptors are 20-1 in the last 21 home games that Drake hasn't attended.

Drake Week celebrates all things Toronto and Drake in anticipation of the city hype man’s latest album, Views from the 6.

Since 2013, Drake has been the global ambassador for the Toronto Raptors, a title as ambiguous as it is grandiose. What does it actually entail? Does he report to The Raptor? What synergies does he provide?

To the average fan, the business side of things doesn’t really matter. What matters is Drake’s overall, statistical effect on the Raptors.

We dug through three seasons’ worth of data to figure out exactly that: do the Raptors win more when Drake sits courtside at the Air Canada Centre?

It might please NBA stats guru John Hollinger to learn that he has not wasted his life, because Drake’s presence at the Air Canada Centre does not significantly change the home team’s performance.

In front of Drake, the Raptors’ overall record is 24-11, which translates to a win percentage of .685. That’s good! But the non-Drake Raptors home win percentage is .698, which is better. Part of that could be because Aubrey prefers games against marquee teams, and they tend to be more competitive; Drake does not waste his time on scrubs.

Drake No Drake
Win-Loss 24-11 60-26
Win Percentage .685 .698
Points Per Game 103.8 104.1
Points Against Per Game 99.4 98.2

When it comes to the overall offensive output, in the 35 games Drake has attended since 2013, the Raptors averaged 103.8 points. When Drake’s globetrotting or dancing with Rihanna while the Raptors play in Toronto, they averaged 104.1 points in his absence. No big difference there, but it all adds up.

The defensive numbers are similar. When Drake’s in the house, the Raptors keep their opponents to 99.4 points, and that number improves to 98.2 when Drake stays home to think about his feelings. Would the defensive-minded Raptors coach Dwayne Casey prefer that Drake stays away from the Air Canada Centre? Maybe, although then he wouldn’t have his 6ixth man to distract opponents during inbounds passes.

Individual players seem mostly unmoved by Drake’s no doubt melodic shouting from the sidelines. All the Raptors’ starters points per game stay virtually identical (give or take a decimal difference) whether there was #Drake or #NoDrake. The one exception is DeMar DeRozan, the all-star shooting guard who averages an extra bucket when the 6ix God is there to cheer him on.

Drake has only been part of the Raptors franchise for 11 playoff games, where they went 2-4 when Drake was at the games and 1-4 when Drake was absent. It’s a small data set, so there’s not much important Drake information to be learned just yet. We like our Drake sample sizes to be statistically significant.

But there is one stat from Drake’s time with the Raptors that jumps out at you when you look at the data. The game after Drake watches the Raptors at the ACC, the team lights it up. The Raptors’ record for games after Drake makes an appearance is an astonishing 30-5. That translates to a win percentage of .857. Like the girl from “Hotline Bling,” the Raptors wait till Drake leaves to really start having fun.

Lately, the team has performed very well in his absence. In the past 21 #NoDrake home games, the team is 20-1. Those are Golden State Warriors numbers.

In conclusion, Drake works in mysterious ways. In fact, Drake’s impact is best when he is at his most elusive; his aura stays with the Raptors after he’s gone, and in the absence of his distraction, they rise to his greatness. The takeaway: if you want to see the Raptors win, go to a game after Drake. You might just catch the post-Drake pump.

Notes on data: We gathered three years’ worth of regular season Drake home attendance, largely by following the hashtag #DrakeOrNoDrake and doing related social media searches. A hat tip to Raptors beat writer Eric Koreen for starting the hashtag and being dedicated to the Drake attendance beat. We only compared home games to provide an apples-to-apples comparison. There are likely oversights in the data set, which you can see below. If we missed a Drake sighting, please let us know in the comments and we’ll update the article.

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