The Raptors Summer League squad has now gone 3-0 in Las Vegas after a 80-69 win over the Dallas Mavericks. Despite some stretches of sloppy play (which is to be expected in Summer League), the Raptors looked to be in complete control once again.
Norman Powell was once again the standout, leading all scorers with 23 points, to go along with three rebounds and two assists. Powell impressed with both straight-ahead drives and some side-to-side moves. He also let fly with a few threes, shooting 3-of-5 from deep (and 7-of-15 in total from the field). The dude even tossed a late alley-oop to Bruno, is there anything he can't do? If it wasn't already clear -- and after playing minutes in three rounds of the NBA playoffs, how could it not be? -- Powell is ready for a full-time job in the NBA.
The book on Delon Wright is similar except he happens to play on a team with two point guards (Kyle Lowry and Cory Joseph) locked into deserved positions. The Raptors have a gem of a backup point guard though if/when they decide to figure out when to get him minutes in the main rotation. Wright chipped in eight points and five assists against the Mavericks, but once again it was his poise that carried the day. Wright hit guys on the move, and found targets in the corner. There were lapses in his play, of course, but Wright was largely able to dictate the tempo of the game (even when the Mavs were pressing), and force the issue on the defensive end. It continues to be encouraging. All of this is getting rather repetitive though, for both Delon and Norman.
For Jakob Poeltl, there were also some good things to talk about. He finished the game with nine points and seven rebounds, to go with a block and a steal. It's clear the kid has some skills, which help counteract his clear lack of strength. It's not particularly difficult for opponents to push Poeltl off the block, but he did show some offensive moves -- including one positively Gasol-esque baseline spin -- that must have Raptors fans smiling. After the game coach Jerry Stackhouse said he was urging the team to get him Jakob more involved in the offense, operating as the team's fulcrum out of the post. The results were mixed, but it was satisfying to see. It's Summer League, but these are things to build on.
I don't want to end this recap on a downer note but readers, we have to talk about Bruno. God love the guy, because I feel like this too is getting repetitive. Caboclo still plays tremendously indecisively whenever he has the ball in his hands on the move. When the ball swings to him in the corner, he'll shoot (he went 2-of-6 from deep). But task him with most other decisions and you can see the wheels spinning and ultimately grinding to a halt. One play in particular, in which Bruno had a semi-breakaway, ended with a soft dunk attempt that saw Bruno get fouled (which is good) but the force on the attempt was severely lacking. Caboclo was invisible for three quarters before pouring in 10 of his 12 points in the fourth, but that's about the only positive thing to be said about his night. (Ah, OK, I'll relent: Bruno also had three steals.)
The Raptors are, of course, going to keep Bruno around. They are still only half way through the experiment and they do have the facilities and staff to focus entirely on his development. If the gamble doesn't pay off, it won't exactly be a huge disappointment. Yes, they could have taken a more immediately talented player, but that's almost always the case in the NBA Draft. The Raptors took a gamble and it could still pay off to some degree, and if it doesn't? Well, the team is still in a great position, having both well-developed young players and a solid team overall.
This is the final Raptors game of the opening round of the Las Vegas Summer League tournament. The time for their next game has yet to be announced, though it seems likely they'll play on Thursday after a practice is held on Wednesday.
So, what did you guys think of the game?