The Raptors are 0-3 in the NBA Summer League tournament, and I would not blame you if you were not watching them play these games. There have been some low-scoring, ugly affairs, that last of which cost Toronto their guy Malcolm Miller. We’re a long way away from the stacked teams of yesteryear — we’re even removed from the good time fun of Bruno Caboclo. It’s been a chore, is my point.
Still, there are bright spots. OG Anunoby has been taking the reins of the team, Codi Miller-McIntyre has had some highlights, and Rawle Alkins is trying to go the Fred VanVleet route to make the NBA. In one sense, the Summer League competition is a ragged, uneven affair; but in another sense, it’s watching these dream chases happen in real time. We may not be watching, or we may be standing far outside the goings-on in Vegas — but some of these guys care a great deal, and are working hard to prove it.
Anyway, Toronto plays the Denver Nuggets tonight, and here are your game details and things to watch.
Where to Watch:
NBA League Pass, 10pm EST
Toronto — Rawle Alkins, Malachi Richardson, Codi Miller-McIntyre, OG Anunoby, Shevon Thompson
Toronto — Fuquan Edwin (left knee), Malcolm Miller (shoulder)
Denver — Malik Beasley (wrist)
There’s Still OG
Every preview is going to lead with Anunoby because, well, he’s the most noteworthy guy on the Raptors Summer League roster. Along with Alfonzo McKinnie and Richardson, he’s also one of the few who’s actually had some kind of NBA impact. (Here’s hoping Miller is back to his old self soon.)
So how’s Anunoby doing? The raw numbers suggest a few things. In a team-leading 27.3 minutes per game, OG is tied for the lead in scoring (with Richardson) at 13.7 points per game. He’s also grabbing a team-leading 6.7 rebounds per game, and dishing off one assist per contest. The obviously disappointing thing in all of this is Anunoby’s shooting: through three games OG is at just 35 percent from the field, which is not great.
These kind of experiences are instructive for OG though, I think. He’s playing now as the lead guy on the team, not just the fourth or fifth option. When the ball swings to him, the Raptors are looking for him to make something happen. For a second year player without a lot of service time under his belt — even against the lower competition of the Summer League — it’s good to get those reps. We’ll see what OG can do next tonight.
What Is Killing the Raptors?
But OG is not the whole story here! The Raptors as a whole, now at 0-3 for the tourney, have just been in a bad way. In Monday night’s loss to the Thunder, outside of some decent contributions from OG (19 points, 6 rebounds), Richardson (17 points), and, yes!, Giddy Potts (15 points, 4-of-8 from three off the bench), the rest of the team couldn’t hold up.
As a unit, they shot 34 percent from the field, 33 percent from three, and couldn’t capitalize on the Thunder’s 18 turnovers. On Sunday night against the Wolves, Toronto’s shooting was much better (49 percent), but they had 19 turnovers, and were out-rebounded 39-31, giving up 14 offensive boards.
The Raptors move into the knockout rounds now, where their exit could come fast. The Nuggets boast a pair of later lottery picks in Tyler Lydon and Malik Beasley, but it looks as though they may only have to deal with the former. (As of yesterday, reports are Beasley is still dealing with a sore wrist.)
Please, Don’t Get Injured
And that brings us to our final point: don’t get injured! The Raptors’ Miller went down on Monday night, Beasley is out, and we still haven’t seen Fuquan Edwin. Often times, when I’m playing pick-up ball or even in a rec league contest, there’s a suggestion in the air, left unvoiced: we don’t need to kill ourselves here.
While, yes, a good showing at the Las Vegas Summer League could secure a player a spot on an NBA roster, an injury could cast a pall over his professional chances. Even if these players don’t make the NBA directly out of Summer League, there’s the G League or a sea of international leagues — there are options out there that require a steady, healthy player. So, please... don’t get injured.