Toronto played a pretty dismal series of three games up until their victory on Thursday, but that’s not to say the entire squad was dismal. OG Anunoby might not be in the running for LVSL Iok, but he’s been an incredibly consistent player on both ends for first year coach Nick Nurse.
In four games, Anunoby is averaging 15.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game — numbers which many fans hoped he’d be able to reach before the summer league began. So while the points might not be coming in flashy or spectacular ways, they are coming nonetheless.
In the Hornets, the Raptors have a couple folks to worry about. WIlly Hernangomez has been a monster, averaging over 18 points per game and 12.0 rebounds while Dewayne Bacon is putting up nearly 16 points himself. Hernangomez was traded by the Knicks last season in a quintessential James Dolan move, and even though it’s the summer league, Hernangomez has looked great.
With Charlotte opting for size on offense, Toronto’s defense will have its hands full since, unfortunately for them, post defense has not been a Raptor summer league strong suit. Shevon Thompson has been extremely hit or miss — amassing 8 personal fouls in one game, only to commit zero the next. The Raptors need him at his very best Saturday in order for the squad to secure a victory.
Where to Watch:
NBA TV 6:00 P.M. EST
Toronto — Rawle Alkins, Malachi Richardson, Codi Miller-McIntyre, OG Anunoby, Shevon Thompson
Hornets — Shannon Scott, Dewayne Bacon, Miles Bridges, J.P. Macura, Willy Hernangomez
Toronto — Fuquan Edwin (knee), Malcolm Miller (shoulder)
Charlotte — Devonte Graham (knee)
Shevon Thompson is clearly a talented player. Thursday we saw him put in a hardy 16 minutes of playing time, and in those minutes he gobbled up boards, altered shots and sunk a few of his own baskets. Monday against the Thunder though, Thompson could barely put one foot in front of the other without making a mistake.
This is the problem with an inexperienced player such as he. You’re going to have good nights — sometimes great nights — and then you’ll get a complete dud. The good news is, he’s the type of player who could benefit from a year or two in the 905. Despite what the pundits say, the traditional big man (which is what Thompson is) is not a dying breed in the NBA — they’re simply overlooked.
And to that extent, it’s always worth having one stashed just in case the time comes when they’re the most useful player on the court again.
Chris Bousher (Get it?)
Josh Kern recently noticed in one of his post-game articles that Chris Boucher had certain qualities that reminded him of a certain player.
Yeah, you guessed it by now — that player is Chris Bosh. His length, athleticism and shooting ability have raised fan’s eyebrows in the limited playing time he has received. For one, he — along with OG Anunoby — facilitated a huge fourth quarter come back on Thursday evening, and of anyone on the floor, Boucher is the kind of player that will make a play more times than not.
He’s got a certain panache that makes him the type of player to watch, even if it’s just for four minutes. In those four minutes, you’ll see things to like.
Now, some of you may not know this, but this could be the Raptors last summer league game. They managed to exit the round-robin with the win on Thursday, and now it’s a tournament of lose and you’re out. So to that extent, the Raptors need to win out the rest of their games in order to take home the title of “Las Vegas Summer League Champion” which, don’t get me wrong — it’s cool, but it’s nothing to boast about.
90% of these players won’t be in the league next year, but most will be in the G League. With that said, these guys are fighting for a job unlike most of the players in the NBA. So while the title might not mean much to those watching at home, trust me when I say it means a hell of a lot to those spilling blood on the court.
So all in all, root for your home town team and be happy for whomever wins the title next week. Go Raptors!