Despite a much-improved offensive effort, the Raptors were unable to recover from a slow start and dropped a 103-94 decision to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday afternoon. New head coach Nick Nurse continues to spread minutes around as 13 different players saw the floor in an effort to get a look at both old and fresh faces.
While it is just a small sample, Nurse can’t be pleased with his team’s defense thus far as opponents are shooting 45.7 percent from the field and getting to the charity stripe 33 times per night. Realistically, most of these players won’t be with the big team next season but there are training camp invites and roster spots up for grabs with the Raptors 905.
Toronto has prided itself on efficiency on both ends of the floor and that’s the same for its G-League affiliate. Monday afternoon’s game against the Thunder could go a long way in determining the fate of some of the players on the bubble.
Let’s prepare along with the team for this afternoon’s contest.
Where to Watch:
NBA TV, 3:30 PM EST
Toronto – Marquis Teague, Malcolm Miller, Alfonzo McKinnie, OG Anunoby, Augusto Lima
Oklahoma City – P.J. Dozier, Terrance Ferguson, Daniel Hamilton, Rashawn Thomas, Dakari Johnson
Toronto – Fuquan Edwin (left knee)
Oklahoma City – None
OG Anunoby Remains in Spotlight
Expectations for OG Anunoby will understandably be heightened following an outstanding rookie season.
In two Summer League games, he has shown flashes offensively in terms of creating for himself but still lacks the consistency from downtown (2-for-10) that will be essential if Anunoby will take that next step this season.
Defensively, he was a team-worst minus-19 against the New Orleans Pelicans and will face a nice challenge against the Thunder’s Daniel Hamilton, who’s averaging 11.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists in two Summer League games.
As a Connecticut Huskies fan, I saw a lot of Hamilton during his two years at Storrs. With his size (6’7”) and length, he’s not afraid to crash the glass and that’s something Anunoby has done a good job of thus far and will need to be conscious of when Hamilton is on the floor.
While Hamilton is a capable scorer, he’s also a solid playmaker and always has his eyes up court.
The Richardson Experience Continues
Richardson’s outing against the Timberwolves gave fans a little tease as to what made him a first-round pick and key cog in Syracuse’s run to the NCAA Final Four just two years ago.
The six-foot-six guard scored 15 points in just 20 minutes of play and made his first four three-point attempts. Richardson showed an ability to create space for himself with a stepback jumper and can catch-and-shoot when the situation calls.
With that being said, he will likely start the year playing heavy minutes with the Raptors 905. The rest of Richardson’s game is not up to speed but his shooting could certainly help the Raptors down the line.
Bet on Yourself 2.0?
Rawle Alkins was one of the first undrafted players signed and has shown in his brief time with the Raptors why many projected him to be selected.
Using his strength and quickness, Alkins has proven to be a solid on-ball defender and shot a respectable 36.5 percent from long distance while at the University of Arizona.
In the Raptors’ 90-77 opening loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, he was the only player with a positive rating with a team-high plus-14 to go along with 12 points and six rebounds in 14 minutes of play.
The shooting will go a long way in determining if Alkins is able to stick in the NBA as a prototypical 3-and-D player. But if Alkins can demonstrate a high IQ like he did in college and bring other intangibles to the table, there’s certainly a spot on any NBA roster for that.