So far in 2019, the story of Raptors 905 is one that sees them trying to re-discover their form from November and December.
A shifting roster has definitely played a role in the 905’s struggles, who have seen their losing streak tick up to five after the last seven days. With both two-way players in Chris Boucher and Jordan Loyd spending time with the Raptors, the 905 are missing their biggest sources of offence. Plugging in Malachi Richardson hasn’t always meant instantaneous success either, as the club tends to live or die by whether he’s making his distance shots.
This isn’t to get too Nihilist Arby’s, though. Such is life in the G League, where turbulence for the benefit of the NBA is the name of the damn game. That continued this week with a couple roster changes, which we’ll get to shortly!
The key to the 905’s stretch run will be whether they can find some new framework to score and, even more importantly, stop teams early on in games.
Let’s dial 905 and take a look back at what happened in detail.
Sunday, January 13 vs. Erie Bayhawks
Most of this season, the first two-way player to be called up has been Chris Boucher. For Sunday’s matinee against the Wizards, though, the Raptors proper brought up Jordan Loyd to fill in depth in lieu of Fred VanVleet.
This meant Chris Boucher had the keys for a home matchup with the Erie Bayhawks. And while the centre had another eye-popping line — 32 points, 17 rebounds, 4 blocks — it wasn’t much in service to the team. After the game, head coach Jama Mahlalela commented on an out-of-sorts offence, saying the team had to rely on Boucher to freelance too much.
Defence was also an issue. Erie was the next in a line of teams to blow up the 905 in first halfs, as they scored 40 in the first and 70 by the break to lead by 15. Again, the Raptors would get some of that back in the second half, but not enough. The Bayhawks were led by Alex Poythress, who had 26 points and 16 rebounds.
Though Boucher carried a lot of the load for the 905, guard Duane Notice had a nice performance as well, making 10-of-17 shots to score 25 points.
Deng Adel Signed by Cleveland
The Athletic’s Blake Murphy reported a couple weeks ago that there was some chatter in Las Vegas around Deng Adel signing a two-way deal. That came to fruition early this week, as Adel signed a two-way contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Adel, who has played solid as a rangy two-way wing with a growing physicality on defence, averaged 13.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists for the 905 in 31.6 minutes per game. A recent shift to the bench pushed him for one of his best performances of the season, as he scored 25 against Delaware on January 8.
905 Acquire Derek Cooke Jr.
Finally, the last bit of news concerns a change in the 905’s depth chart. Yesterday they finished off a move with the Northern Arizona Suns, trading Khadeem Latin and the returning rights to Yanick Moriera for Derek Cooke Jr.
Cooke Jr., who has averaged 6.8 points and 8.1 rebounds with the Suns, is a player of similar frame to Adel — 6’9”, 220 pounds, and has played in 117 G League games over the last three seasons.
These numbers are probably meaningless to you, though, as you probably know Cooke Jr. as a dunker.
The 905 play again tonight, as they start a home-and-home against the Greensboro Swarm. The beat goes on!