It was an eventful week for the 905. First, they played the Canton Charge and retired Kendrick Perkins, then they fell to Milton Doyle’s Long Island Nets, then Bruno Caboclo got traded, and finally, they had a pair of wins against the Lakeland Magic and Maine Red Claws.
Here’s how the 905’s prospects did in their games.
Age: 27 Years, 5 Months
This Week: 19 PPG (21-45 FG - 46.7%), 5-11 3FG (45.5%), 5.7 REB, 12 AST, 3 STL, 3 TO, +38 +/-
Lorenzo Brown faced a tough defense against the Long Island Nets and Canton Charge but displayed remarkable poise quarterbacking for the 905.
The evolution of Lorenzo Brown continues. Against the Charge, Brown’s shots were not falling — partly because of Charge’s pressure on him and how they were packing the paint, where he likes to operate. Whereas against the Long Island Nets, Brown was suffocated by a steady diet of strong trapping by the Nets. However, Brown did a great job staying in the pocket and making plays for his teammates. At the beginning of the season, once Brown gets in the paint area, everyone in the building knew he’d take that shot. Right now, Brown is as much of a threat to shoot the ball or find an open teammate for an assist. What’s equally impressive is that Brown has improved on that Steve Nash/Chris Paul play where they would keep the ball alive in and around the paint to hunt for assists or take a shot.
Brown has also shown better pacing in terms of when to get his teammates involved, when to play off the ball, and when to take over. Against the Long Island Nets, Brown had a tough first half, but did not force the issue a lot and let his teammates like Malcolm Miller get going.
Turnovers. Brown had a stretch of four games dating back to the week before, where he committed at least four turnovers. At least one of the turnovers came from sloppy plays, but the rest were from pressure situations. Luckily, the Lakeland Magic was a relatively easy game, and Brown only registered one turnover.
Brown also needs to make sure that the hot hands don’t get iced out. Against the Long Island Nets, Malcolm Miller was killing it in the first half and part of the 3rd quarter but barely saw the ball for the rest of the game.
Against the Long Island Nets, Brown turned on the jets on both sides of the court for a good stretch in the 4th quarter, willing his team to get back into the game. During that 6-minute stretch, Brown had 8 points, 3 assists, and 3 steals, turning a what could have been a blowout after the 3rd quarter into a relatively close game.
This Week: 18.7 PPG (19-33 FG - 57.6%), 10-22 3FG (45.5%), 4.7 REB, 1 AST, 1 TO, +25 +/-
Malcolm Miller continues to impress, and he looks ready for more.
Malcolm Miller is rounding out to be the 905’s best 3-and-D player. Miller sandwiched a 6-of-8 3pt shooting game with a pair of 2-of-7s. Overall he demonstrated that he can shoot pretty much anywhere around the perimeter, and can shoot it from deep.
In the past, I questioned what Miller could do once his perimeter shot got taken away. This week, Miller repeatedly demonstrated his quick reaction once his defender did do exactly that: he aggressively drove to the basket.
I have nothing much to nitpick here, aside from the part where sometimes Miller would defer too much especially when he’s got it going. When he’s got it going like against the Nets, he should have a Curry license to shoot anywhere and anytime.
Miller’s 3-point shooting is what he’s known for, but he’s been getting better at mixing his shots up, efficiently shooting 9-of-11 (82%) on a variety of drives and cuts to the basket.
This Week: 15 PPG (19-36 FG - 52.8%), 4-13 3FG (30.8%), 7.7 REB, 2 AST, 2 TO, +31 +/-
Alfonzo McKinnie busted out of his slump and provided a solid week last week, highlighted by his aerial assault against the Lakeland Magic.
Alfonzo McKinnie bounced back from his G-League slump, and he did this by going back to his strengths: slashing/cutting for layups/dunks, running in transition, and crashing the boards. McKinnie’s energy and effort were outstanding last week.
Also, while McKinnie continues to struggle around the perimeter, he’s been weirdly shooting above average (6-of-12 50%) from the top of the key and far right side (12-of-23 52%).
McKinnie looks unstoppable when he’s going north-south with plenty of momentum, which either resulted in a dunk or a floating banker (he likes this shot).
McKinnie had issues with his handles, as he had multiple turnovers while trying to drive in traffic. And often when he does manage to put up a shot, he struggled to finish them.
It’s fun watching McKinnie dunk. I suggest everyone should check out his highlights against Canton Charge and Lakeland Magic. My favourite: McKinnie’s late putback dunk over — way over — Ante Zizic. Zizic looked frightened.
This Week: 9.5 PPG (7-20 FG - 35%), 4-13 3FG (31%), 5.5 REB, 0.5 AST, 0.5 BLK, 2 TO, -11 +/-
Bruno Caboclo capped off his Raptors/905 tenure with a week that best describes his season.
Against the Canton Charge, Bruno turned a bad 3.5 quarters into a clutch performance, hitting three straight clutch 3s to stave off the Charge’s rally.
Against the Long Island Nets, it looked like Bruno was off to a decent start, with a nice baseline cut for a reverse layup. But everything went downhill from there, ending in a benching for good in the 3rd quarter after a flurry of airballs, misses, and turnovers.
Having watched the majority of Bruno’s games with the 905, I was one of those fans who was optimistic as to what he could develop into, especially considering where the league is trending with the style of play. Bruno just ran out of time, or should I say — the experiment ran its course and the organization has to move on. I hope that Bruno has what it takes to prove everyone wrong, but he’ll now have to do this outside of his Toronto comfort zone.
Let’s pour one out for Bruno.
Kendrick Perkins last played for the Canton Charge against the 905, and his final meaningful play came near the end of the first half when he bodied Bruno down low for an and-1.