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How do the Raptors 905 replace Axel Toupane?

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With Axel Toupane now in the NBA, the 905 need to replace him.

With Axel Toupane signing with the Milwaukee Bucks last week, the 905 have an open roster spot. Theoretically, they could keep it open until after Toupane’s 10-day contract expires to see if he stays in the NBA or not. If he does stay in the NBA, the 905 and General Manager Dan Tolzman will have options, through free agents, returning rights and trades.

Free Agents

J.T. Terrell, SG/SF (College: USC)

Raptors 905 fans may remember the name J.T. Terrell, because he was drafted by the 905 this year and played one game before being waived to make room for Edy Tavares. The 905 know what they have in Terrell as they spent a whole training camp and pre-season with him, and the 905 thought highly enough of him as he made the team out of training camp.

Terrell obviously can’t replace Toupane’s skill but it just so happens that he plays the exact same position as Toupane. Terrell can switch between the shooting guard and small forward positions, and has the skill set to be a contributor on this team.

Kendall Williams, PG/SG (College: New Mexico)

Just like Terrell, 905 fans may remember the name Kendall Williams. He too was drafted by the 905 in this year’s D-League draft but was one of the last cuts. Williams was a star at New Mexico where in his senior year he averaged 16 points, 4.9 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game in 35.3 minutes. After going undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft went to Italy to play with Victoria Libertas Pesaro of the Lega Basket Serie A League. There Williams averaged 5.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Following his brief stint overseas Williams signed with the NBL Canada League to play with the London Lightning but also entered the D-League draft and got drafted by the 905.

Returning Rights

Davion Berry, SG (Current Team: Tigers Tübingen)

Note: Berry’s season ends in April, and it isn’t known if he has a buyout.

Davion Berry was acquired last season at the trade deadline as insurance for when Toupane went up to the NBA. Could he return to replace Toupane once again? Berry in only 10 games for the 905 was a huge contributor and a great reason why the 905 ended the season so well, as they didn’t skip a beat with Berry in the lineup.

In those 10 games for the 905, Berry averaged 17.9 points, 3.7 assists and 2.6 rebounds while shooting 55.7% from the field and an incredible 51.4% from three. If Berry decides to return, coach Jerry Stackhouse would have a legitimate sixth man again.

Shannon Scott, PG (Current Team: Doxa Lefkadas B.C)

Note: Scott’s season ends March 25 meaning he could be back for the playoffs.

Scott is a point guard, so not really what the 905 need to replace Axel. B if Scott decides to return, he can be the starting point guard and have John Jordan as the backup. With that move it can then push Brady Heslip to his natural position of shooting guard and move Singler to small forward or a sixth man role. It makes a certain kind of sense.

Last season with the 905, Scott played in 48 games, starting 37 of those while averaging 29 minutes per game. Scott averaged 9.2 points, 5.7 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 39.9% from the field and 31.9% from three.

Scott Suggs, SG (Current Team: ICL Manresa)

Note: Suggs season ends in May, and it isn’t known if he has a buyout.

Scott Suggs is a long shot to return, as he told me he doesn’t see himself returning to the D-League. Last season Suggs was a dominant player and a bit of a surprise he didn’t catch on in the NBA. Now at 27 years old it doesn’t make sense for him to return to the low D-League salaries when he can cash in overseas.

Just in case Suggs does come, he can be an immediate shooting guard starter and add a dash of D-League experience to a team that is making a post-season run. Last season with the 905 Suggs played in all 50 games and started 43 of those while averaging 36 minutes per game. Suggs also averaged 18 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game, while shooting 44.1% from the field and 41.9% from three.

Trades

Kalin Lucas, PG/SG (Current Team: Erie BayHawks)

The 27 year old Lucas started the season off with the Iowa Energy before being traded to Erie on December 22, 2016 for the returning rights of Jordan Sibert and a third round pick. While in Iowa, Lucas averaged 16.9 points, 5.1 assists 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 14 games. Lucas picked up where he left off in Erie as combined with Iowa and Erie he is averaging 17.5 points, 4.8 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1 steal per game while playing in 29.7 minutes per game.

Lucas wouldn’t cost the 905 too much, possibly a returning rights player and a 3rd exactly what Erie traded or perhaps a 2nd round pick. Erie is out of the playoff race and may give Lucas a better chance to win and be scouted longer for an overseas contract next year. Lucas does not seem to be on the NBA radar and at 27 this could his last season in the D-League. Lucas could be the 905’s 6th man similar to what Axel was or perhaps the starting point guard with John Jordan backing him up and sliding Heslip over to his natural shooting guard position.

Whatever the 905 end up doing, it’s clear they have options. We’ve talked up all these other players, and they could also just roll with Antwaine Wiggins and Negus Webster-Chan as well. We’ll see.