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Capital City Go-Go v Raptors 905 Photo by Christian Bonin/NBAE via Getty Images

Dial 905: Gradey Dick’s Debut and a Capital City Go-Go sweep of the Raptors 905

The Toronto Raptors assigned Gradey Dick to the Raptors 905, who’s having an even worse time than the ball club. Good move, or bad move?

The Raptors 905’s misery continues, dropping both games to the Capital City Go-Go at home. The sweep puts them at 0-8 for the season and, if anything, stamps their exit from the Showcase Cup prestige.

The Raptors 905 had every built-in excuse for this game, from injuries, new players, no point guard, and Gradey Dick’s struggles. Still, the team got run out of the gym by the Go-Gos on both occasions, and what’s disappointing is that the visitors made better adjustments on the second game of their series.

Gradey Dick made one of the all-time worst debuts for an NBA assignee. Even Bruno Caboclo had a decent debut, putting up 13 points and seven boards almost a decade ago. He did kind of bounced back a little bit, but it was still a subpar outing. If anything, the biggest takeaway from his second game is a collective sigh that it did not get any worse.

There’s a lot to dissect about these two games outside of Dick, but the game came down to a few things: For one, transition defense. Hamidou Diallo and the Go-Gos feasted in transition, whether off turnovers or misses. Seeing this happen in the first game can be attributed to the abovementioned excuses, but after going through practice and supposedly making adjustments to prevent the breakouts, the defensive game plan and the effort were unacceptable. For a shorthanded team, it’s hard to win if you keep turning the ball over or don’t successfully rebound and get back to defend transition breakouts.

Showcase Cup 07: Gradey Dick’s Nightmare Raptors 905 debut (Oh, and the Raptors 905 lost)

Final Score: Raptors 905 113, Capital City Go-Go 123

Assignees

Raptors 905: Ron Harper Jr. (TW), Javon Freeman-Liberty (TW), Gradey Dick (NBA)

Capital City Go-Go: Patrick Baldwin Jr. (NBA), John Butler Jr. (TW)

Starters

Raptors 905: Ron Harper Jr. (TW), Javon Freeman-Liberty (TW), Gradey Dick (NBA), Mo Gueye, Makur Maker

Capital City Go-Go: Devon Dotson, Chase Audige, Hamildou Diallo, Patrick Baldwin Jr. (NBA), John Butler Jr. (TW)

The Capital City Go-Go spoiled Gradey Dick’s Raptors 905 debut, pulling away in the fourth period, coasting to a 115-101 win. Dick had one of the worst performances of an NBA assignee, as he looked like “two years away from being two years away.” Perhaps more.

Ron Harper Jr. carried the Raptors 905 for the most part, putting up 23 points, seven boards, and five dimes, essentially playing the point for a team that doesn’t have a natural point guard. Mo Gueye added 22 points, 11 boards, and six blocked shots. Omari Moore provided some spark off the bench with 13 points, while new 905er Kobi Simmons added 11 points, six boards, and two dimes.

Hamidou Diallo dunked his way toward 23 points and 12 boards. In comparison, Devon Dotson added 20 points and 11 boards to go along with only 1 turnover. Patrick Baldwin Jr. added 17 points, 10 boards, and four blocked shots while hitting three trifectas.

The Go-Gos showcased the talent disparity between the two teams, as their bench outscored their counterparts 55-37. Perhaps what’s even more disappointing than Dick’s performance was giving the Diallo and the Go-Go red carpet access to the basket in transition, heck, even off misses.

Despite Dick’s struggles, the game started in favour of the Raptors 905 with a 17-6 lead. However, Go-Go’s Michael Foster Jr. came off the bench and provided the spark for the visitors to finish the first period with the Raptors 905 holding on to a 27-24 lead.

The Raptors 905 started the second period going for 2-for-8 from the field while committing a couple of turnovers, allowing the Go-Go to go on a 16-6 run. Gueye had to cover up for many of the Raptors 905’s mistakes late in the game and cut the Go-Go’s lead to 51-55 at the half.

Harper Jr. took more control of the game to start the second half, helping the Raptors 905 to keep up with the Go-Gos, even tying the game at 60. However, miscues late in the game allowed the Go-Go to take a six-point lead heading to the final period. A 15-7 Go-Go run to start the fourth blew the game wide open, as the Raptors 905 couldn’t do anything right offensively, shooting 2-for-8 from the field while committing six turnovers, and that’s essentially the game.

Mandatory Gradey Dick Report

Remember when LeBron got dunked on by a high schooler, and they had to burn the tape? Well, this is a “burn the tape” game for Gradey Dick. He struggled from both ends of the floor the entire game, looking like the worst player on the floor while getting spoon-fed for the most part. While the Go-Go would have come out victors from this game regardless, the Raptors 905 had a chance to keep this game close for the most part, but Dick’s struggles allowed the Go-Go to put some distance between them and the Raptors 905.

Dick hunted for his shots early but looked discouraged after every miss, and it came down to a point where he was second-guessing himself, looking undecided with the ball, and making bad decisions which ended up in turnovers. His confidence issues affected his play defensively, resulting in lapses or late reactions. There’s really not much to talk about here; Dick missed open shots, forced tough shots, and started doubting himself as the game went on.

This play is probably the most encouraging positive play that he did on this game:

Showcase Cup Game 08: Gradey bounces back, but Raptors 905 rally fell short

Final Score: Raptors 905 113, Capital City Go-Go 123

Assignees

Raptors 905: Ron Harper Jr. (TW), Javon Freeman-Liberty (TW), Gradey Dick (NBA)

Capital City Go-Go: Patrick Baldwin Jr. (NBA), John Butler Jr. (TW)

Starters

Raptors 905: Kobi Simmons, Ron Harper Jr. (TW), Javon Freeman-Liberty (TW), Gradey Dick (NBA), Mo Gueye

Capital City Go-Go: Devon Dotson, Chase Audige, Hamildou Diallo, Patrick Baldwin Jr. (NBA), John Butler Jr. (TW)

Gradey Dick had a much better game as a 905er, but it wasn’t enough to help the Raptors 905 get their first win of the season. The Capital City Go-Go imposed their will throughout the game, getting it done in transition and on the perimeter, leaving Paramount Fine Food Centre with a sweep over the Raptors 905, 123-113.

There’s really only a little to talk about this game. The Go-Gos were just the superior team and put the Raptors 905 early despite a couple of fake comeback attempts. The visitors won almost every facet of the game. It didn’t help that the Raptors 905’s key guys shot poorly, underwhelmed defensively, and committed so many miscues that made it easy for the Go-Go to blow this game wide open.

There were some silver linings to this game, such as Gradey Dick’s bounce-back game. Sort of. Dick finished the game with 22 points and two steals but shot poorly from the field, going for 5-for-21, but also shot 3-for-12 from the perimeter. Even with such gaudy numbers, that’s a remarkable improvement. Javon Freeman-Liberty looked better on his second game back, leading the team with 26 points and six boards before fouling out. Kobi Simmons added 19 points, while Kevin Obanor had his best game with the Raptors 905, putting up 17 points and four boards off the bench.

The Raptors 905 shot 39.3% overall, while the Go-Go made 51.1% of their shots, with plenty of easy layups and dunks. The Go-Gos outscored the Raptors 905 34-21 in transition, outrebounded, out-assisted, and dominated the hosts in the paint.

Mandatory Gradey Dick Report

Dick had another slow start, going for 1-for-5 in the first quarter, but managed to see the ball go in from the perimeter late in the first frame. It was a sigh of relief, not just for Dick but also for the crowd and pretty much every Raptor fan watching the game. He got productive as the game went on, bringing the energy and showing more fight on both ends of the floor.

Dick finished with 22 points, four boards, two assists, two steals, and a nice recovery block. While he still managed to struggle from the perimeter, shooting 3-for-12 from the distance, Dick looked more confident hunting and taking perimeter shots compared to the previous game.

As mentioned above, it was a slow start for Dick, struggling on the floor for the fifth consecutive quarter since his debut last Saturday. Seeing him make a perimeter shot late in the first period was a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, he didn’t touch the ball until several possessions later, and when he did, he tried to ISO Devon Dotson, but his middy came up short.

Dick came back early in the second period but didn’t get to touch the ball for a couple of minutes again. He had a nifty touch pass to Gueye, who was cutting along the baseline but got fouled instead. A trip to the line for a free throw off Diallo’s tech likely boosted Dick’s confidence seeing the ball swish through. Dick finally got another chance to do something within the half-court setting three minutes into his shift, but he didn’t take full advantage of Gueye’s screen and settled for a contested “DeRozan.” He had DHO with Freeman-Liberty, which gave him some daylight at the top of the key. Still, he turned it down, went for a drive and kick to Freeman-Liberty at the corner, then decided to flare back to the top of the key to take a contested catch-and-shoot three-pointer against a bigger defender.

Perhaps the turning point was this play here: Kobi Simmons drove to the basket and tried to make a short pass to Gueye rolling to the basket, but the pass was intercepted. Dick read the play well and got beat Dotson to the spot where the outlet pass was going, easily picked the pass and found Harper Jr. for a wide-open trifecta. He looked much better defensively, the energy was better, communicating better. He had one snafu heading into halftime, where he didn’t show hard enough to get the pass, allowing Diallo to dislodge him and get a pick-six. However, unlike the previous game, that didn’t faze him, as Harper Jr. found him relocating for a wide-open trifecta.

Dick looked good defensively to start the second half, at least based on his game 1 standards. He did make one mistake early, giving up the baseline while defending on-ball, yielding an and-1. Dick quickly atoned for his mistake with a chase down block on the same player the next play. He finally got a touch after 3.5 minutes, but his catch-and-shoot three-point attempt hit the back iron.

A few possessions later, Dick got the kick out at the top of the key and made the right move to quickly get to the basket and earn a trip to the line. Halfway through the third, he picked up a loose ball and went coast-to-coast but went for a tough middy that hit the back iron, too. A few plays down, Gueye gave Dick a DHO, and Dick pulled the trigger right away, but it was short. He pulled off another good defensive read in transition and had a similar steal by picking the outlet pass by getting to the ball first, which led to Gueye’s layup. Dick drove to drive to the basket with the help of Maker’s pick but ran into a crowd, getting blocked in the process.

Dick came back early in the fourth as Jaysean Paige turned his ankle. Freeman-Liberty found him cutting toward the basket and earned a trip to the line. He tried another catch-and-shoot from the top of the key but came up short again. A few possessions down, Diallo caught him napping defensively and almost got a layup backcutting him. Dick tried a driving floater the next play, but it was a tough shot against four defenders. Later, he drove to the basket and pulled up with a rare clean middy. Dick had a nice relocation to the corner to get the ball from Obanor on the move for the best-looking trifecta he’s made with the 905.

Unfortunately, Dick followed it up with a floater that came up short. Dick ISO’d Dotson but went with a tough step back that airballed. Maker found him trailing in transition and tried to give him a lob, but the timing was off. Dick was able to adjust and get a reverse layup. It was garbage time from then on, and he managed to grift for four more points by getting to the line.

Overall, this performance is a vast improvement compared to Dick’s first game with the Raptors 905. It’s a solid C- performance, showing better energy, fight, activity, and focus. He didn’t look discouraged for the most part – except the first period. It’s good to see some of his shots go in, but if he can keep it simple for now, he’ll have better success with his percentages. Had this been his first game with the 905, it would have felt disappointing.

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