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Raptors 905 select Kevon Harris and Gary Payton II in the G League Draft

The 2021 Raptors 905 roster is starting to shape: the team added Kevon Harris and Gary Payton II in today’s draft.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 26 Stephen F Austin at Duke

The NBA’s G League held its annual draft today in advance of its upcoming abbreviated Bubble season, and the Toronto Raptors’ affiliate Raptors 905 added two players to their roster: Kevon Harris (11th overall pick) and Gary Payton II (15th).

Meet the New 905ers

The Raptors 905 had five picks across the three rounds of the draft, but with several players already on the roster, chose only to use their two first round picks. Let’s review the new players joining the squad.

1st Round, 11th Pick - Kevon Harris

Stephen F. Austin, Senior, SG/SF, 2020 (Undrafted)

Kevon Harris is a 6’6” senior from Stephen F. Austin, where he averaged 17.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game as a senior. It’s worth noting that he shot 41.3% from behind the arc and shot at least 37 percent every year after his freshman campaign. He should bring size, strength, and scoring at the SG/SF spot for the Raptors 905.

Harris went undrafted in the 2020 draft, but he was one of those on-the-radar players aiming for a potential two-way contract or an affiliate player in the G League. He was on the Los Angeles Lakers’ training camp (along with Tres Tinkle), but the South Bay Lakers opted out of this G League season.

1st Round, 15th Pick - Gary Payton II

Oregon State, Senior, 6’3” PG, 2016 (2016 - Undrafted)

Gary Payton II is a fringe NBA player who’s been around for the last four years. He’s had two-way contracts with the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, and more recently, made the Washington Wizards’ roster last season, where he saw extended minutes for the first half of the season.

Payton brings toughness and athleticism at his position, but the knock on him is his still-developing point guard skills required at the NBA level: shooting, playmaking, and handles.

The 905 Trade

Matt Mooney, PG

Texas Tech, Senior, 6’2”, 2019 (Undrafted)

The Raptors 905 also made some moves before the draft by acquiring Matt Mooney. Per Blake Murphy, the Raptors 905 flipped their rights to Devin Robinson to ultimately obtain Matt Mooney from the Canton Charge, the Cleveland Cavaliers affiliate.

Mooney was a Cavaliers two-way contract player last season, and he spent most of his time with the Charge, where he averaged 13 points and 5.1 assists while shooting 36.4 percent behind the arc. He was on the Cavs’ training camp roster this season but failed to make the team.

Perhaps most people would remember Mooney as the high-IQ Texas Tech point guard who, along with the Wolves’ Jarrett Culver, lost to the NCAA champion Virginia Cavaliers led by Kyle Guy, DeAndre Hunter, and Ty Jerome in 2019.

The Current 905 Roster

It will be a completely overhauled roster for the Raptors 905 this season. The 2019-20 season revolved around the mother club’s prospects in Oshae Brissett, Shamorie Ponds and Paul Watson Jr., alongside key contributors Tyler Ennis, Devin Robinson, and Henry Ellenson.

Jalen Harris, the Raptors’ two-way player from this past draft, should be the developmental focus for this season. Yuta Watanabe, the other two-way on the roster, seems to be part of Nick Nurse’s rotation at the moment. Malachi Flynn might be sent down now and then, but it looks like he’s best suited to learn closely from Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet. Aside from that, I don’t see any point in sending Watson down to the Bubble, as he needs NBA game reps at this point.

Per Blake Murphy, the 905 roster stands at:

G: Jalen Harris, Breein Tyree, Nik Stauskas, Matt Mooney, Matt Morgan, Gary Payton II

F: Kevon Harris, Tres Tinkle, Alize Johnson

C: Henry Ellenson, Dewan Hernandez

Potential assignee: Yuta Watanabe, Paul Watson Jr., Malachi Flynn, Terence Davis, Matt Thomas

There are still roster spots to fill, and the Raptors 905 traditionally have gone through other means to fill up their roster. As the roster features with six players 6’3” and under, the 905’s shopping list likely includes big wings and/or centres.

The Rest of the G League Draft Story

There were some intriguing and familiar names in this draft, as it’s littered with former NBA players like Michael Beasley, Terrence Jones, Mario Chalmers, Allonzo Trier, and Lance Stephenson. None of those vets were ultimately selected, but Raptors 905 alum Oshae Brissett was picked up by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Admiral Schofield, the Washington Wizards’ 2019 second-round pick, was selected first overall by the Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte Hornets affiliate). I was hoping the 905 would pick up a project centre, but the two best bigs on this draft — Freddie Gillespie (2nd — Memphis Hustle) and Justin Patton (9th - Westchester Knicks) were gone by the time the Raptors 905 made their selections.

What’s Next for the 905

The NBA G League Bubble will begin in February. Eighteen teams will participate, including the Raptors 905 and 16 other returning G League squads, along with the much-hyped G League Ignite team featuring a number of blue-chip prospects. The entire season will be held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.