The Summer League version of the Raptors continue their winning ways in the desert after a couple more wins to move to 3-0 in the tournament’s opening round. This past Saturday, July 8th, the Raptors took down the Timberwolves 97-72, and last night, in a nail-biter, beat the Nuggets 82-81.
As you’d probably expect, the stars for the Raptors in Vegas have been their three most seasoned players: Fred VanVleet, Jakob Poeltl, and Pascal Siakam. All have shown what they can bring to the Raptors next season in different ways.
For Siakam, that’s meant relentless rim-running and a few new moves on drives going to the basket — plus some flashes of three-point range. Last night against the Nuggets, Siakam put up 14 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 3 blocks, while also draining a couple of threes. While I think we’d all agree that Siakam is still a bit raw as a player, he’s damn sure to make noise from anywhere on the court.
His frontcourt counterpart has provided a stabilizing effect: Poeltl’s put up three double-doubles so far with a 17 point, 10 rebound performance against Denver last night. While we’ve come to expect Jak’s presence around the net, take a look at the big man running the floor here. Hey now.
Finally, VanVleet has run the team’s offense like a pro, while also scoring at a relatively high rate — he had 17 points against the Nuggets and went a perfect 3-of-3 from deep. FVV is ready for the season.
The other standout for the Raptors has been new signee Alfonso McKinnie. Last night against Denver, despite shooting 33 percent from the field (including, oops, 17 percent from 3), McKinnie finished with a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds. He also had this nifty put-back jam.
Not bad for an unheralded player looking to making his mark and impress the new bosses. (Props to Siakam for trying some sort of behind the back floater move; Vegas really does let you get wild.)
Yes, it’s Summer League and the weight of competition isn’t exactly enormous. But the young Raptors are showing well, which is a good sign for a Toronto team suddenly looking for internal growth from its up-and-comers.
The schedule for the Raptors’ next game has not yet been released, but we’ll have the info when it becomes available.