If you can believe this, the Toronto Raptors are voluntarily heading to Las Vegas, Nevada. They may in fact already be there. As has become annual tradition, the Raptors intend to play basketball in the desert in July. To which I would like to add: at least it’s a dry heat.
For the first time ever, the entire NBA will join Toronto there too. Each and every team is set to field their own squad of 15, march off into the desert (well, the Cox Pavilion or Thomas & Mack Center), and compete. As we mentioned elsewhere, here’s when the Raptors will take the court. (Here’s the full schedule.)
And here’s the Raptors’ roster, just to remind:
So now, a fair question to ask: who are these guys? Let’s recap.
The New Guys
Here’s the largest group of players you’ll find on the Raptors and in Summer League competition. The New Guys are all players who have appeared as a blip on the radar screen of many an NBA team, but for whatever reason haven’t been able to catch on with a team — e.g. they went unselected in the most recent NBA Draft, or have floated around other domestic or international leagues.
The Raptors have seven such players on their squad, including some we’ve already discussed elsewhere on this site. Let’s run through the list anyway:
Alkins is not, let’s say, a special case, but he does stand out here. Why? Because the Raptors have already signed him to a training camp deal, which means whatever happens (barring injury) he’ll be with the team in late September — to say nothing of the turn into October. At 20 years old, 6’5”, and a top 60 ranking, Alkins may stand out in other ways. Here’s what we’ve got on him.
We wrote on both of these dudes — one is big, the other, not so big. And given the need for size in the Summer League, and in the G League, it may not be a surprise to see the Raptors attempt to keep Lima around. (He’s also Brazilian, and I believe there’s a Toronto mandate to have at least one on the roster at all times.)
Speaking of international big men: an Icelander! Hlinason is 7’1”, 260 pounds, and just 20 years old. If actually played professional in Iceland for three years (for Körfuknattleiksdeild Þórs, obviously) before jumping to Valencia Basket in the Liga ACB. So, while Tryggvi just went undrafted in June, there’s a bit of a clamour for his skills. (It helps when huge Nordic players have become the new league inefficiency.)
One last cute detail here: Hlinason competed for Team Iceland at the Games of the Small States of Europe in 2017, helping his team claim the bronze medal. Awwwww.
Wait a second, Loyd isn’t a new guy! As you may recall (I did not), Loyd actually played for the Raptors on their Summer League team last year in 2017. Unfortunately, as I was also reminded: that team didn’t do so hot, losing in a huge (hugest?) upset in the first knockout round of the tournament.
This will be Loyd’s third Summer League appearance, and while he had a strong college career (putting up 21 points per game in his senior season), the best pro ball he’s been able to play has been for Hapoel Eilat in Israel.
Frankly, I don’t if the Raptors can afford to let someone named Giddy Potts just walk away. Sign this man (also, here’s what we said about him previously.)
So, here’s what we previously wrote about Rowsey, but this only tells part of the story. When I asked Mitch Robson, our resident NCAA expert, to weigh in on the man, his first impulse was to say, and I quote, “OH this motherfucker”. I feel like that may come to summarize the entire Rowsey experience — though you can read more here if you’d like.
Here’s a group of players coming to Vegas who are already well-versed in the ways of the Raptors. They’ve spent the last few months slugging it out in Mississauga for the championship-contending 905, or have gotten spot minutes for the Raptors.
The first three names should be very familiar to you. Miller of course got to shine for the 905 on their way to the G League Finals (though he was ultimately left off the Raptors playoff roster). As discussed in his player review, there are still question marks as to where Toronto goes next with Miller.
McKinnie snagged the team’s 14th spot in training camp last year and while he didn’t do much in the NBA, he grew in leaps and bounds over the length of the season for the 905. (Our guy JD Quirante had this and this to say about McKinnie’s year.)
And whether fair or not, Richardson will likely only ever be remembered in Toronto as the guy the Raptors got in the Bruno Caboclo trade. Sorry, Malachi! (See what I mean here in his player review from 2017-18.)
If you read any of Cole Shelton’s Dial 905 columns from last season, you likely saw Thompson’s name come up quite a bit. Cole was quite enamoured with the big man’s skill set and his will to dominate in limited minutes. It felt like every week there was some crazy 905 account to report — seriously, just check the Notes section of any of those columns. Thompson will sadly not be joined in Vegas by his frontcourt running mate Kennedy Meeks, but on the other hand: it will unequivocally be Shevon’s time to shine.
Edwin is the oldest player on the team at 26. (Actually, he’s tied with Augusto Lima to the day, apparently. Is that image accurate? What are the odds of that???) As a result, he’s been around — Sioux Falls in the G League, then Venezuela, Israel, Australia, Kosovo, Finland, and then somehow with the 905. If nothing else, this international odyssey has to be worth something to somebody. Edwin could very well reclaim his spot as a 3-and-D wing player for the 905, or he could head off somewhere else. Let’s keep an eye.
An even smaller pool of players makes up this group: guys who have been around the league already, but haven’t reached the Raptors’ system as of yet. In this case, Toronto is bringing aboard something of an old hand, and a totally fresh face (to a certain extent). See what I mean below.
Hey, a Teague! Marquis is the brother of Jeff and has actually been in and around the BA since 2012. He was picked 29th in the 2012 NBA Draft, spent some time with the Bulls, then the Nets, and then with the Grizzlies last year. For a few years there, from 2014 to 2017, he jumped around between the G League, Israel, and Russia — which had to be some kind of transition.
At 25 years old, 6’2” and 180 pounds, it’s likely Teague is what he is at this point. He’s never topped 3.7 points per game, and he shot 25 percent in the three games he appeared in for Memphis — this was late in the season too, when the Grizz were trying to find creative ways to lose. But still, Teague has shown he can play in the NBA, and that’s not nothing.
Technically speaking, Boucher is an NBA player. Go ahead and check the statistics. After signing a two-way contract with the Golden State Warriors, Boucher played in one (1) game for the team, on March 14, 2018. (This, after Boucher tore his ACL in a college game almost exactly one year prior, and saw his draft stock plummet.) In 1:19 of action, Boucher recorded one shot (he missed), and one rebound (defensive). Total impact: -2.
The appeal here — beyond Boucher’s 6’10”, 200 pound frame — is that, hey, he’s Canadian! While Boucher was born in Castries, Saint Lucia, he moved to Montreal when he was five (and has a Canadian-born father, for what that’s worth). From there, it’s quite a story — any tale that mentions the Quebec restaurant chain Saint Hubert usually is.
The OG Anunoby
Only one player is in this group.
He’s OG Anunoby.