Despite a slow 0-2 start for the Raptors, their Summer League squad has gradually rounded into form. It has not been enough to propel them into the championship bracket, but it’s nice to see the team winning anyway. After the round robin portion of the Vegas tourney, the Raptors are 2-2 and play the Philadelphia 76ers (1-3) today in the consolation round.
The full schedule for the rest of the tourney is below, with the Celtics claiming the championship bracket’s one-seed, followed by [deep breath] Detroit, Minnesota, New Orleans, Miami, Dallas, Brooklyn, and Memphis. (The Raptors are in the second image, with just today’s game on the docket — and then they’re done for the summer.)
The MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2019 tournament bracket has been released! Who do you think will take home the ?— NBA Summer League (@NBASummerLeague) July 12, 2019
Get your tix for Championship Weekend: https://t.co/KtHBuRnXF5#NBASummer pic.twitter.com/tqT2e6fO8n
So what are the bright spots for Toronto and why have they won their last two games in the NBA Summer League? For one, if you saw yesterday’s contest against the Pacers, the team’s recent signee, Terence Davis, is now playing for the Raptors — and he is ready. Davis was a walking bucket against the Pacers, dropping threes and making dimes and just doing the dang thing. It was cool to see (yes, even if it was “just Summer League”).
For two, the Raptors’ recent draft pick Dewan Hernandez has started to show signs of being the mobile big man Toronto was hoping to get when they selected him 59th overall in the 2019 Draft. As Yahoo’s William Lou points out below, it is not nothing to watch a 6’10” guy make this play:
this is a very impressive move for a 6'10 guy. dewan hernandez has 10 points on 5-6 FG at halftime. pic.twitter.com/0GhhUJWTqq— William Lou (@william_lou) July 11, 2019
It remains to be seen if Chris Boucher will retake the floor today (he sat out yesterday’s game vs. the Pacers), or if maybe Jordan Loyd, who continues to do a yeoman’s job organizing the squad, will get the afternoon off. For now we’re rolling with the same starting lineup as yesterday evening’s game and will update as necessary. Summer League welcomes that kind of lineup randomness.
For the Sixers — in the midst of introducing their new-look roster — this summer’s stars have been Zhaire Smith, who is making waves after missing most of his rookie season with a fractured foot, and the delightfully named Matisse Thybulle, their latest draft pick. Selected 20th overall (by the Celtics and then flipped), the 22-year-old, 6’5” guard/wing has shown a shooting touch and some keen defensive instincts. How that will translate into the NBA remains to be seen, but so far he and Smith are making their case.
Admittedly, this is a fairly meaningless game, competition-wise. But it also stands as the last time we’ll see anyone wearing a Raptors jersey on a basketball court until the end of September. Enjoy the moment, remember that the Raps are the defending champs, and, much like the rest of Toronto’s squad, cherish this vacation.
Here are the details for today’s game:
Where to Watch:
ESPNU at 4pm
Toronto - Darius Thompson, Dewan Hernandez, Lindell Wigginton, Terence Davis, Chris Boucher
Philadelphia - Zhaire Smith, P.J. Dozier, Matisse Thybulle, Haywood Highsmith, Christ Koumadje
Toronto - Sagaba Konate (out — knee), Jamaal Franklin (out — foot)
Philadelphia - Shake Milton (ankle - out) [For more information, check out Liberty Ballers]