The Raps were the first team on the schedule for day two of Vegas Summer League, this time matched-up against a long and athletic Detroit Pistons squad. The action on the court has however, taken a backseat to the rumour that Jarrett Jack will sign an offer sheet with the Dinos.
Before getting to the Jarrett Jack news, there was a solid summer league game played yesterday between the Raps and the Pistons.
In what turned out to be a hotly contested affair on the UNLV campus, the Raps unfortunately came out on the short end losing their second game 91-87.
The score of course is of secondary importance to seeing what particular players are showing on the court.
The player that stood out the most today was the rookie DeMar DeRozan. Coming off a so-so performance on Friday night, DeRozan really showed up this afternoon with 20 points in just under 35 minutes of action.
What was exciting was not only that DeRozan had 20 points, but that he scored in a variety of ways and for the most part did it against a much taller Austin Daye. DeRozan once again showed off some good touch from mid-range but he also did a fantastic job getting off-screens, creating space and even nailed his one and only three point attempt. It was a very solid offensive showing by the Raps rookie.
The other big name rookie in this match-up didn’t disappoint either. Austin Daye also put on a great performance showing unlimited range, a tremendous handle and great hops. Despite his slender build Daye didn’t just hang-out on the perimeter either as he attacked the rim with aggression and is really the focal point of this Detroit squad. He, along with fellow rookies DaJuan Summers and Deron Washington have all had a great start to the Summer League. Although different players in their own right, they all share a knack for being in the right place at the right time and using their athleticism to their advantage. Washington, despite the poor shooting had a huge impact on today’s game and in some ways reminded me of Matt Barnes and Shawn Marion.
Back to the Raps, the other player who had a nice game was Quincy Douby. Douby found himself in a battle for much of the game against the likes of Washington and Andre Owens and was relentless attacking his defender. Douby’s ability to not only hit from the outside but also carve his way into the lane contributed to his being the game’s high scorer. Although he took a few hard fouls throughout the contest he continued to attack.
It was really the Raps guard play in the second half that got them back into the game as the front court players, including David Doblas, Patrick O’Bryant and Shawn Taggart (who played his first minutes) did little of note. Apparently an appearance by former Raptors forward Tracey Murray did little to motivate the big men.
The summer league games are, for the most part, dominated by guard play. Although DeRozan and Douby had solid games, the other two Raptor guards were only so-so. Neither Ukic or Parker did much to impress.
Parker, despite having a solid first day, played poorly. Other than the few one-on-one battles between him and Andre Owens he seemed to lack focus and energy. Parker had seven personal fouls and turned the ball over three times. Watching him today reminded me of TJ Ford in that Parker seemed more concerned about ensuring he was winning the one-on-one battles then helping his team win. There looks to be good reason why Parker is not in the league – given his demeanour is this someone you really could trust to lead your squad, even in a back-up capacity?
Of course the role of back-up PG for the Raps may not be filled as it is being reported that the Raps are looking to sign former first round pick Jarrett Jack to an offer sheet. My initial reaction? Finally! Jack has been a HQ favourite since his time at Georgia Tech and I would love to see him in a Raps uniform. Jack had a really good year for Indiana last season and would to me, be the perfect back-up for Jose. He is a hard nosed defender, a good distributor and should easily be able to outplay most other back-up PG’s in the league. I think all of Raptorland would feel more comfortable having Jack leading the second unit than Ukic or Marcus Banks.
If the Raps do sign Jack and Indiana decides to let him walk, you have to wonder where this leaves both Banks and Ukic. Banks has essentially become the forgotten man and unless dealt will likely be a huge waste of a roster spot and cap space. For Roko this is a strong signal that the Raps brass doesn’t think he is ready to be the full-time back-up. I have not seen anything from him here in Vegas that would likely change their mind. It will be interesting to see how he reacts should this deal happen. Given Roko would likely get less PT than last year would that be enough for him to abandon the NBA dream for now and head back to Europe?
Nevertheless, the positives from a possible Jack signing far outweigh any negatives. Jack would solidify the back-court, would add a close friend of CB4 to the roster and would be another noteworthy move in what is looking to be one, if not the most active and exciting summers in Toronto Raptors history.
To date, BC is doing a bang-up job.