Hey folks, real basketball is almost here! There’s just one more hurdle left to climb tonight, as the Raps are down in DC to take on the Wizards in the final preseason game for both teams.
This month has been a slog for the team and hopefully they use tonight to stay healthy ahead of next Wednesday’s season opener against the Detroit Pistons back at the ACC.
With cuts starting to trickle out from other teams across the Association in the past few days, the guys fighting for the 15th spot have one last chance to impress Coach Casey, who will surely give them a fair amount of burn. Here are my three players to keep an eye on tonight:
The son of veteran NBA official Danny Crawford (a little sway with the refs wouldn’t hurt in the 15th spot), Crawford has been very effective in his stints so far this preseason and brings positional versatility that say a Van Vleet would lack as the last man. In theory he’s an extra 3 & D wing, as he has the length to guard the 2 through 4 spot, and has shot 44% from beyond the arc this month. His +/- is sitting at 10.3 going into tonight, tops on the roster for the preseason as well.
Fred Van Vleet
Van Vleet has seemed to be a favourite of assorted bloggers and reporters to claim this spot ever since he impressed at Summer League and was signed on. With Delon Wright recovering from shoulder surgery, the Raps very well might want a 3rd PG on the roster due to any health or fatigue concerns with Kyle Lowry or Cory Joseph. Van Vleet has shot the ball well posting a 51/41/72 slash line in his six preseason games, and won’t be afraid of any situation, as evidenced by his performances in the NCAA Tournament with Wichita State.
With Sullinger still nursing his ankle, there’s a chance that one of the rookie big men will make this team out of camp instead of going straight to Sauga City. Both have looked solid doing the little things you want out of a rotation big this preseason, as Siakam has been his energetic and bouncy self while gobbling up boards to the tune of a 10.6 OREB% and 13.5 DREB%. Poeltl has been just as good with a 12.7 DREB% and a beastly 22.4 OREB%. Personally, I think Siakam would be a better 15th man on the court, but having been at a few social events with Poeltl in the past couple of weeks (*cough humblebrag cough*), the man is a good time at the bar and King/Adelaide West needs his presence.
WHERE TO WATCH: No TV coverage tonight, but CSN is broadcasting the game down in DC so it should be a go on League Pass at 7 pm.