There are Summer League teams, and then there are summer league teams. The difference in the capitalization is obvious when comparing the Raptors, whose iteration in Las Vegas is the former, and the Knicks, who are the latter. The roster that has played big minutes for Toronto so far, going 0-2 in their efforts, will not see much floor time once the regular season rolls around. The Knicks, meanwhile, have upwards of five rotation players showing out in Vegas — and they also sit at 0-2.
To confirm this concept, consider this: the Raptors played the San Antonio Spurs’ summer squad last night and, despite being down by 26 points at one point, almost secured the win. (The lost 93-90.) The failed comeback was powered by their two most NBA-ready players, Jordan Loyd and Chris Boucher. This speaks to the shape of Toronto’s squad in Vegas. Their two best guys are still, given the status of the big club, extremely marginal NBA players (despite killing it in the G League). So, while the Raptors value their presence in the organization, they’ve yet to really do anything meaningful in an actual NBA game.
Over on New York’s squad, however, the situation is different. For starters, all eyes are on RJ Barrett, the Canadian guard who was just selected third overall in the 2019 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been a rosy time just yet for young RJ. Despite leading Canada to gold in the 2017 FIBA Under-19 World Cup, and participating in a narrow defeat in the Elite Eight in March Madness 2019, Barrett hasn’t done much to impress yet in Las Vegas. On Sunday against the Suns, he managed eight points and ten rebounds in an overtime loss; prior to that, on Friday against the Pelicans, Barrett put up just ten points and five rebounds. What’s worse, he’s now shooting just 7-of-33 from the field across two games. Yes, it’s Summer League, but also: woof.
So the Raptors’ lack of tried-and-true NBA prospects may not hurt them against the Knicks, despite the fact that on paper New York should have the better team. After all, the Knicks also brought sophomore starters Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, along with Allonzo Trier and Kadeem Allen (heading into his third year) to the tournament this year. That should count for something right? We’ll see — though it really all is in the presentation.
Below are your game details for tonight, based on best guesses and previous data. Let’s see if Toronto can get on the board in the win column.
Where to Watch:
NBA TV at 9:30pm EST
Toronto - Corey Walden, Jordan Loyd, Malcolm Miller, Chris Boucher, Dewan Hernandez
New York - Kadeem Allen, RJ Barrett, Ignas Brazdeikis, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson
Toronto - Sagaba Konate (out - knee), Jamaal Franklin (out - foot)
New York - Check Posting and Toasting for more information