It’s not an earth-shattering move, but as the Raptors continue to gear up for the 2021-22 NBA season, Toronto is reportedly set to sign guard/wing Isaac Bonga, formerly of the Washington Wizards.
This time out, Blake Murphy of The Athletic has the scoop:
The Raptors are signing Isaac Bonga, per a source.— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) August 11, 2021
Would assume it’s another small guarantee to compete for a spot in camp.
The assumption, re: training camp spot, makes sense. While we haven’t quite taken stock of the Raptors’ rotation just yet, Toronto currently has 16 players on the team — and can carry up to 20 into training camp. We know David Johnson and Justin Champagnie are the team’s two-way contract players, and that the organization is likely interested in hanging on to recent second round pick Dalano Banton. But the squad after that seems fairly open. (To my mind, Sam Dekker and Ishmail Wainwright are the other two players in the mix right now fighting for spots.)
Bonga, at a few months shy of 22 years old, brings some obvious physical tools to the Raptors. He’s listed at 6’8” and 180 pounds — with a 7’0” foot wingspan by the way — and while he’s a career 30 percent three-point shooter, that size on the wing is of obvious appeal to Toronto. It’s likely how Bonga got his start in the league to begin with, coming in as the 39th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He’s now spent one season with the Lakers and played for the Wizards for the past two years. In all, Bonga has put up averages of 3.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 0.9 assists in 14.1 minutes per game. He’s also been averaging 44 percent shooting from the field and that aforementioned 30 percent from deep. His free throw shooting — which is often an indicator of decent shooting success from elsewhere — has been up and down, sitting at 77 percent for his career.
In all, I wouldn’t necessarily get too attached to Bonga just yet, but it is hard to tell what exactly the Raptors will do with the back half of this roster. What the team is clearly valuing — length, defensive versatility, play-making skills — is seemingly in abundance in this new younger crop of players. But it remains to be seen who will stick and how it will all fit together. Recall that last time we thought we knew what the Raptors would do (e.g. Oshae Brissett set to return), Toronto swerved with Yuta Watanabe. We’ll just have to wait for training camp to find out.