Raptors Outlast Blazers for First Vegas Win

In their best game yet, the Toronto Raptors defeated the Portland Trailblazers in Summer League play moving them to 1 and 2 so far.  Franchise breaks things down on his final day in Vegas...

Elvis has left the building.

Yes, it's time for me to head back to the T-Dot.

Howland returned on Sunday morning but I wanted to stick around Las Vegas to get a third Summer League game in, and a chance to see some of the other young rookies get their first taste of NBA action so to speak.

That was all accomplished last night as not only did I take in the Raptors' win over the Blazers, but I also got to see a bevy of other future stars, from Blake Griffin to Stephen Curry.

Let's start with the Raptors though shall we?

A 92 to 87 victory gave the Dinos their first win in Las Vegas and frankly, I didn't see this coming.  Toronto didn't play that well in their first two matches, and on paper didn't seem to have the talent to match up against the Blazers.

However this was Portland's first Summer League match and it showed.

The club had 19 turnovers in the match, took some questionable shots, especially in transition, and seemed to be getting used to each other.  Oh, and it doesn't help when your starting shooting guard (Thomas Gardner of Missouri fame), goes 0 for 8.

The Raptors however got some very solid play in the back-court once again from Quincy Douby and DeMar DeRozan who combined for 35 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.  Add in some production from Roko Ukic and Brent Petway and Jerryd Bayless' 22 points and seven assists just wasn't enough for the Blazers.

But beyond the box score, was there anything that really stood out last night for me?

Well for starters, Portland has about four guys on their Summer League roster who look like good bets to make an NBA club next year.  Dante Cunningham, Jeff Pendergraph, Bobby Jones and of course Bayless all played at a very high level and the former three should find niche roles in the league.  I'd love to see Toronto steal away Jones in particular, a hard-nosed gritty player who shared the back-court in college with Brandon Roy.  He wouldn't be a top 7 guy for sure, but he'd be an upgrade off the bench over both George and Banks.  Cunningham and Pendergraph are second-round picks by Portland from the most recent-draft and look to be keeping the Blazers' cupboard stocked with young talent.

The same can't be said about the Raps unfortunately.  Even though they got the W, there's still precious little to be seen from this group outside of DeRozan and Douby, both of whom I expect to be factors in Toronto's top 10 rotation next season.  With Anthony Parker now officially a Cav, the Raptors are going to need to find someone who can step in and provide a solid defensive presence at the 2.

-The O'Bryant experiment should be laid to rest asap.  With his size and length he should be dominating in these settings and he's not even close to doing so.  He's got almost nothing in terms of a low-post game, is a horrific shot-blocker, and is most effective when trailing the play to pull up for long-range jumpers - not exactly what Toronto needs from a back-up big.  Right now he only seems to be taking up a valuable roster spot.

-Roko still shows flashes, but I think everyone is well-served by having him become the third-string point guard off the bench next season.  He's still very tough to stop off the bounce, and has great vision when drawing in defenders on the way to the rim, but his shot doesn't seem to have advanced at all and he still takes unnecessary gambles defensively.  In fact watching him up close in Summer League, it's a little tough to imagine how any of Toronto's brain-trust felt that he was a good option to back-up Jose last year.

-Brent Petway is an incredible athlete...but that's about where things end.  He's provided numerous highlight reel plays, as you can see in the warm-up video below, but the rest of his basketball skills just aren't at the NBA level.  If Toronto is looking for a freak athlete who can occasionally come off the bench for an energy boost, I'd rather they looked at someone like Deron Washington who's currently playing for the Pistons.

Raptors Summer League Warm-Up

-And finally, Smush Parker.  Smush didn't see the light of day in last night's win and with the Jack offer now official, I'd say that puts a nail in his coffin in terms of playing for the Dinos next season.  I'd still say he's an upgrade over Roko, but Ukic obviously has the greater upside so Mr. Parker will probably be plying his trade somewhere else come next fall.

Other than those four, there isn't much else to discuss.  Demetris Nichols, who started last night and who I expected to be one of Toronto's top options, has been essentially invisible, and others like David Doblas (who at one point last night started yelling obscenities at the refs due to his perceived lack of calls) haven't shown they'd even belong in the D League.

That means we'll all have to wait and see where BC turns to fill out the roster.  

Talking with Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski last night post-game, it sounds like there's still a good deal of moving and shaking to go on in the league so Colangelo may be best served to wait now for a bit to see who falls through the cracks.

FRANCHISE

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