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Prospect Report: Malachi plays his best game as a 905er

Malcolm Miller with a call-up, Lorenzo Brown is still injured, Alfonzo McKinnie’s progress, and Malachi shines.

The Raptors 905 had two games last week: A tightly contested loss against the Long Island Nets and a blow out win against the Wisconsin Herd. Let’s see how the prospects performed:

Lorenzo Brown

N/A

Lorenzo Brown continued to miss time due to his ankle injury, and the team could have used him against the Long Island Nets.

Malcolm Miller

N/A

Malcolm Miller spent the entire week with the mother club; getting some minutes against the Washington Wizards and a surprise start against the Charlotte Hornets. There’s no indication yet whether Miller will see time with the Raptors 905 anytime soon as he seems to be in the mix for the 15th roster spot (most likely competing with Nigel Hayes).

Malcolm Miller also turned 25 today.

Alfonzo McKinnie

16.5 PTS 13-32 FG (40.6%), 41.7% 3FG (5-12), 9 REB, 1.5 AST, 0.5 STL, 5 TO, +11 +/-

Alfonzo McKinnie’s motor and athleticism are impressive, but he still doesn’t look confident in his shot.

Good

I love watching Alfonzo McKinnie hustle and play hard every possession. Whenever there’s a battle for a rebound, expect his jersey to be up there. McKinnie is relentless in transition, regardless if he gets the ball or not. He’s doing a great job with his cuts to the basket and sneaking in behind defenders along the baseline for a drop off pass.

In two straight fourth quarters, McKinnie shook off sub-par shooting night to hit clutch back-to-back corner perimeter shots, which is more impressive as they came from opposite corners.

Bad

Outside of his floater, McKinnie struggled to create his offense and had to rely on cuts to the basket and excellent transition play to get his points. It’s not for the lack of trying, as McKinnie would try to drive or post up on several occasions within the game, but he’s having a hard time finishing around the basket especially around taller/longer defenders.

McKinnie is also prone to losing confidence (and/or overthinking) in his shot if he starts off with a few bricks. McKinnie committed ten turnovers in two games last week, and a few of them came in when he passed up an open three-point shot, only to drive without a purpose, ultimately giving the ball up to the other team.

Misc

I know Brandon Jennings is no longer the player that dropped 55 points, but it’s impressive to see a particular defensive sequence where McKinnie shut Jennings down. Jennings started the possession at the top of the key dancing around, trying to drive by him (unsuccessfully), ending up passing the ball to his teammate to reset and get it back for a jumper, only to see McKinnie finish this excellent defensive sequence with the hand on Jennings’ face.

Malachi Richardson

13 PTS 10-24 FG (41.7%), 33.3% 3FG (4-12), 3 REB, 2 AST, 1.5 STL, 2 TO, +10 +/-

Malachi’s best game happened after three straight sub-par appearances.

Good

Richardson doesn’t need a lot of space to get his perimeter shot up, and his jab step is good enough to create enough space to get an opening. Malachi has also shown that he’s capable of hitting perimeter shots where he’s not square up or the incoming pass is away from his “pocket.” All of these shots came in against the Wisconsin Herd, where Malachi dropped 20 points and his best game in the Raptors 905 uniform so far.

Malachi is also showing more signs of activity outside of his perimeter shots, and he’s good at sneaking in and around the defenders cutting to the basket for easy layups. As I mentioned last week, he’s got an underrated passing game, dropping dimes that I didn’t know he had in his game.

Defensively, Malachi looked better compared to last week. He’s done a much better job rotating, and being on the spot to take charges.

Bad

I wrote this assessment last week, and it seems to be the book on him: “Malachi struggles when his perimeter shot is not on, and his drives to the basket provide no lift, nor creativity for him to have a better chance at a higher percentage shot.” Malachi struggled against the Long Island Nets when his shot abandoned him, and a number of his misses against the Herd were from his errant drives.

Misc

For the second consecutive week, coach Jerry Stackhouse was not afraid to bench assignees if they are not playing well enough. Against the Nets, Malachi did not see any crunch time minutes.

Note: Since there’s only one game for the week of March 5-11 (March 10th vs Canton Charge), the next Prospect Report will cover the games from March 10 - 17.