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Dial 905: The G-League pre-season wraps up

After a quick two-game pre-season, the Raptors 905 gear up for the regular season, and their title defense.

Welcome back to year two of Dial 905, the weekly recap of the G-League's Raptors 905.

The 905 are coming off a 1-1 pre-season, one in which I and the majority of fans were left in the dark. Neither game was streamed on Facebook Live or anywhere else, so my recaps here are going off the box score.

The 905’s roster looks completely different as only Edy Tavares and Negus Webster-Chan are back from last year's championship team. While the 905 are getting back Davion Berry from two years ago the team will be mostly fresh faces. But that's the life of the G-League — extreme roster turnover is the norm, not the exception. As a result, there are really no expectations from teams until the first few weeks of the season.

Saturday, Oct. 28 — vs. London Lightning

Final Score: 99-92 for the Lightning

The 905 kicked their pre-season off with a champions vs. champions matchup against the reigning NBL Canada champions.

While many would have predicted an easy win for the 905 given the talent discrepancy between the NBL and the G-League, the final score indicates otherwise. Fortunately for the Lightning however, they have the same roster as they did last season, which helps in a big way.

Lorenzo Brown’s First Two-Way Game

The two-way contract is brand new this season and the Raptors opted to use their two slots to sign Lorenzo Brown and Malcolm Miller. With the latter still out with that ankle injury only Brown was active to play.

In the game, Brown played 23 minutes and added 12 points and 4 assists while shooting 2-of-5 from three. It was an average performance for Brown, but don’t be surprised to see an improvement as the season goes on. Brown will be the 905’s starting point guard this season when he isn’t with the Raptors.

Kethan Savage Makes His Debut

The 905 used their first-round pick in the 2017 G-League draft on Kethan Savage a guard out of Butler. Savage can play both guard spots — though he’s more at home in the 2-guard spot. He finished the game with 7 points and 3 rebounds while shooting 1-of-2 from three in just 23 minutes.

Kennedy Meeks Moves to Power Forward

Meeks was with the Raptors for most of their training camp but it was expected he’d eventually come to 905 as their starting centre. However, with Edy Tavares deciding to come back to the 905, Meeks has been moved from the starting lineup and into a different role.

Meeks and coach Jerry Stackhouse decided to see how he would fit as a power forward. According to Meeks, it’s been a good transition. “It definitely has been well,” he said on 905 Media Day. “Like I said, I had been working really hard and eating the right food and make sure I’m in good season shape and make sure I’m ready to get better each and every day. And the rest will fall into place.

“Like you said, the transition to power forward from me going to power forward to a centre is a little different and It is a lot more running around, something that I have to prepare for and what I am preparing for.”

And how will Meeks fit in with Tavares?

“It works well especially when I am able to knock down the three-point shots,” said Meeks. “He pretty much rebounds everything, so it is pretty hard to rebound over a guy who is 7’7”. He is definitely a great player but I have always been the tallest player on my team so it is a little different seeing someone else.”

In his first game as a power forward Meeks finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists in 27 minutes.

Monday Oct. 30 — vs. Erie BayHawks

Final Score: 112-78 for the 905

Kaza Keane From Carleton Impresses

The 905 invited four local tryout players — all Canadian, which is a record — and all of them made the roster. In Keane’s case, he’s also one of two players from Canadian universities to make the 905. (Aaron Best is the other.) It truly is something special, but Keane deserves his chance on merit — not school choice.

In his first game, Keane finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists while shooting a perfect 3-of-3 from three in just 20 minutes of action.

Tavares Continues G-League Dominance

Tavares is an NBA player and why no team picked him up after the Cleveland Cavaliers waived him is surprising. Still, the 905 are glad to have Tavares back as their starting centre and force on defense.

In this game, Tavares finished with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks in 24 minutes of action.

Notes

  • Dan Tolzman the Raptors 905 GM and assistant GM of the Raptors said they tried to sign guard Mike James to a two-way deal. James reportedly won’t spend any time in the G-League as he’s on a 45-day tryout with the Phoenix Suns, and they’ll either sign him or he’ll go back overseas.
  • At Media Day on Tuesday, Stackhouse said he expects Webster-Chan to be one of the starters. “Absolutely, he is a guy who should step right up and in the starting lineup this year the way I see it. It is kind of his job to lose as he has more experience to what we did last year and know what we want on the offense and defense end of the court. Last year he was just a rookie and it was just a numbers game as we had a lot of guys who had a little more experience than he had like Sheehey, E.J. Singler, now he is the man, so hopefully, he takes advantage of that.”
  • Two-way player Malcolm Miller is now cleared for 5-on-5 drills, so his return to the court should be coming soon.