Welcome back for one final look at the 2022-23 Raptors 905 season. This time, we’ll go through everyone that suited up this season and assess their performance as a 905er, from lesser-known players like Devon Daniels to main club prospects like Jeff Dowtin Jr. and Christian Koloko.
It’s been an underwhelming season for the Raptors 905, who, on paper, should be a middle-of-the-pack playoff team. The team was consistently inconsistent for the most part and has had quite a few letdown games. It was also a struggle for first-year coach Eric Khoury, who showed growth as the season went by.
Covered by the losses and disappointments were incremental and exponential growth of some of the team players, which this coaching staff should be proud of. Unfortunately for the Raptors 905, they underestimated the parity that’s been going on at the G League level for the past 3-4 years. They lost several winnable games that could’ve propelled them to the top of the standings.
Enough dwelling on disappointments; it’s a long list, so I’ll get straight to the point.
We Barely Knew You
Aaron Epps, INC
Regular Season: Games Played - 10 (9.5 MPG), 5.8 PPG(53.3% FG%), 40% 3P% (1 3PA), 3 REB, 0.6 AST, 0.2 STL, 0.7 BLK, 0.2 TO, 1+/- TOT
Aaron Epps joined the team in late December but debuted almost in mid-January as he recovered from injury. He had a promising debut, showcasing his combination of size and activity on both ends of the floor. Unlike the other traditional bigs on this team, Epps can hit the occasional trifecta. Christian Koloko’s assignment relegated him as the third big man on the rotation, making the minutes hard to come by. He was traded to the Greensboro Swarm in late February.
Devon Daniels, INC
Showcase Cup: Games Played - 7 (10.5 MPG), 3.3 PPG(44.4% FG%), 0% 3P% (0.9 3PA), 1.7 REB, 0.4 AST, 0.4 STL, 0 BLK, 0.4 TO, -36+/- TOT
Devon Daniels started the season working his way back from an ACL injury that ended his collegiate career. It was tough for him to see minutes with the glut in the backcourt, and when he played, he looked like he was dealing with both rust and a higher level of competition. He was waived by the Raptors 905 after the Showcase Cup.
Koby McEwen, INC
Regular Season: Games Played - 7 (12.7 MPG), 4 PPG(52.6% FG%), 50% 3P% (1.4 3PA), 1.7 REB, 1 AST, 0.6 STL, 0.1 BLK, 0.7 TO, 35+/- TOT
Toronto’s own and CEBL Sixth Man of the Year Koby McEwen was signed by the Raptors 905 in late February. He didn’t see much time in his first four games, but he’s shown great value not just as a two-way contributor off the bench but as someone that can change the game with his energy. I’m not sure what his plans are, but I would love to see him back with the team next season.
Tra-Deon Hollins, B-
Regular Season: Games Played - 10 (13.7 MPG), 3.7 PPG(34% FG%), 17.6% 3P% (1.7 3PA), 1.4 REB, 4 AST, 1.1 STL, 0.2 BLK, 1.7 TO, -1+/- TOT
Tra-Deon Hollins joined the team in February and made his presence felt immediately, dishing ten dimes twice in their baseball series against the Cleveland Charge. His presence made the ball move better during the Raptors 905’s transition lineups. While Hollins’ defense is a little bit subpar, the way he sets the table for his teammates when he’s got the ball can make one think that he’s the best pure point guard on the team, even with Dowtin Jr. and Banton on the lineup. Unfortunately, he missed several games due to injuries. Still, his arrival showed the team that the Raptors 905 doesn’t have to run that offense where the ball sticks too much on one player.
Keith Williams, INC
Regular Season: Games Played - 8 (9.4 MPG), 4.6 PPG(48.4% FG%), 0% 3P% (0.1 3PA), 1.5 REB, 0.5 AST, 0.5 STL, 0.3 BLK, 0.5 TO, -4+/- TOT
One of the latest additions to the team, Keith Williams, didn’t see much run until the last few games when the team got hit with the injury bug and the key players got recalled. However, Williams made the most of his minutes, punctuated by his 18-point performance off the bench for the last game of the season against the Greensboro Swarm. I love the energy he brings into the game, much like McEwen.
It Just Didn’t Work Out
Melvin Frazier Jr., D
Showcase Cup: Games Played - 13 (20.3 MPG), 6.4 PPG(44.1% FG%), 18.2% 3P% (1.7 3PA), 3.9 REB, 1.4 AST, 1.5 STL, 0.2 BLK, 0.9 TO, -15+/- TOT
I had higher expectations when I saw Melvin Frazier Jr. on the roster, as he was a fringe first-round prospect coming out of Tulane. He’s made stops with the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder. The talent is there, but Frazier was unable to get his game going with the Raptors 905. Part of that is the glut at the guard/wing positions, and a bulk of his playing time saw him getting reps playing out of position at the 4/5 — a big ask for someone that is a neutral defender at best. He was traded to the Westchester Knicks and played much better.
Kenny Wooten, D
Showcase Cup: Games Played - 12 (14.3 MPG), 4 PPG(57.1% FG%), 0% 3P% (0.1 3PA), 3.9 REB, 0.8 AST, 0.7 STL, 1.6 BLK, 1.4 TO, -36+/- TOT
Regular Season: Games Played - 6 (11.6 MPG), 2.3 PPG(54.5% FG%), 0% 3P% (0 3PA), 2.8 REB, 0.5 AST, 0.3 STL, 1.3 BLK, 0.3 TO, 11+/- TOT
Sadly we did not get the Westchester Knicks version of Kenny Wooten, but he flashed some of his emphatic blocks when he got the chance. Unfortunately, he came into camp looking more ground-bound, perhaps due to his season-ending injury last year. Wooten was already offensively challenged coming out of Oregon, often relying on hustle and his athleticism. His inability to reliably use his aerial athleticism meant fewer opportunities for him to score. There was also the fit/spacing issue with Reggie Perry, who likes to muscle his way to the basket. Still, I’m a big fan and hoping to see Wooten healthy next season. The Raptors 905 waived Wooten in mid-January as part of the team’s roster shuffle.
Christian Vital, C+
Showcase Cup: Games Played - 14 (19.7 MPG), 8.4 PPG(43% FG%), 35% 3P% (4.3 3PA), 3.6 REB, 2.2 AST, 0.9 STL, 0.6 BLK, 1.1 TO, -3+/- TOT
I had higher hopes that the reigning CEBL Finals VMP would have a prominent role with the Raptors 905 after a successful rookie campaign with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He had his moments with the 905, and his streakiness allowed him to heat up offensively occasionally. However, the same streakiness hurt his tenure a bit, as the shaky offense relegated him to mostly a perimeter threat. When his shots didn’t go down, so did his effectiveness offensively. Vital was traded to the Salt Lake City Stars for the returning rights of Malcolm Miller, and he went on to flourish in that new environment, averaging 15.1 points on 39.5% shooting from the perimeter.
Hassani Gravett, B+
Showcase Cup: Games Played - 9 (24 MPG), 7.4 PPG(43.4% FG%), 37.1% 3P% (3.9 3PA), 2.2 REB, 2.1 AST, 0.4 STL, 0.3 BLK, 1.2 TO, -13+/- TOT
Regular Season: Games Played - 9 (19.5 MPG), 5.2 PPG(42.9% FG%), 22.2% 3P% (2 3PA), 2.4 REB, 2.9 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.1 BLK, 1.1 TO, -21+/- TOT
Hassani Gravett was a mid-Showcase Cup pickup, and Jeff Dowtin Jr.’s former Lakeland Magic running mate did not disappoint. Despite being the 3rd or 4th point guard, he stepped up whenever coach Khoury needed him to play a more prominent role. His addition to the team infused the team with better ball movement on their transition lineups. However, Dalano Banton’s assignment led to a smaller role, and we can’t blame him for getting a better payday when Europe called. Fortunately, he left us with an all-timer gem when the Raptors 905 defeated Justin Champagnie and the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Obadiah Noel, INC
Showcase Cup: Games Played - 7 (8.9 MPG), 2.6 PPG(36.8% FG%), 33.3% 3P% (0.4 3PA), 1 REB, 0.7 AST, 0.4 STL, 0.3 BLK, 0.3 TO, 1+/- TOT
Injuries led to Obadiah Noel getting pushed out of the rotation last season. This season, a hamstring injury to start the season cost him the chance to compete for a rotation spot, given how deep the guards/wings positions on this team are. Noel didn’t get to a point where he was healthy enough to showcase what he can do, as we have seen the energy, defense, and athleticism he brought to the table last season. He was traded to the Westchester Knicks, where he flourished and had his best season, averaging 10.6 points and improving his perimeter shooting to 37.7%.
Darryl Morsell, B-
Showcase Cup: Games Played - 2 (10.8 MPG), 7 PPG(54.5% FG%), 50% 3P% (1 3PA), 3 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 13+/- TOT
Regular Season: Games Played - 30 (20.2 MPG), 8.2 PPG(43.1% FG%), 24% 3P% (2.5 3PA), 3.9 REB, 2.2 AST, 0.7 STL, 0.5 BLK, 1.6 TO, -46+/- TOT
Darryl Morsell is an old-school wing that likes to get to the paint and initiate contact. He plays with a lot of fire, often looking for ways to impact the game on both ends of the floor, especially on the defensive end. Morsell came in strong in the last five games, rising to the occasion when the team was shorthanded in either bodies or effort. However, sometimes, his tenacity and eagerness to make something happen can be a double-edged sword, which, unfortunately, could lead to turnovers.
Jeremiah Tilmon, C-
Regular Season: Games Played - 12 (12.1 MPG), 5.6 PPG(55.6% FG%), 0% 3P% (0 3PA), 3 REB, 0.8 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.4 BLK, 1.3 TO, -21+/- TOT
Jeremiah Tilmon was another late addition for the Raptors 905, also with CEBL ties. He joined the team in February and worked his way into jumping over Aaron Epps as Reggie Perry’s backup. He punishes his defender in the paint, but his offense is limited, and he struggles to finish in traffic. However, he’s shown that he can make good reads when he gets the ball on the roll, often making the right pass. Tilmon lost his spot to Kylor Kelley as the season went on.
Kylor Kelley, B-
Regular Season: Games Played - 21 (15.3 MPG), 7.5 PPG(62.5% FG%), 0% 3P% (0 3PA), 5 REB, 0.9 AST, 0.2 STL, 1.3 BLK, 1 TO, -34+/- TOT
Kylor Kelley started at the bottom of the centre depth chart, patiently waited for his turn, and eventually became the part-time starting centre/first big off the bench, pending Koloko’s availability. Kelley knows his role and limitations and doesn’t go beyond them, making him an ideal role player. He rebounds and contests shots and won’t call his number offensively. If he gets the pass on the roll, he’ll try to do something about it. Still, coach Khoury was able to unlock his game when he got paired with Ron Harper Jr. The duo formed the modern-day Steve Nash/Amare Stoudamire-esque unstoppable PnR action. Kelley’s an excellent dive man with an ideal combination of nimbleness, anticipation, and decent explosiveness as a vertical threat.
Roster Crunch Survivors
Ryan Hawkins, C-
Showcase Cup: Games Played - 18 (17.6 MPG), 4.6 PPG(35.8% FG%), 28.4% 3P% (3.7 3PA), 2.2 REB, 0.8 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.1 BLK, 0.7 TO, -72+/- TOT
Regular Season: Games Played - 31 (17.9 MPG), 5.2 PPG(42.8% FG%), 32.2% 3P% (2.9 3PA), 3.1 REB, 1.1 AST, 0.9 STL, 0.1 BLK, 0.5 TO, 63+/- TOT
One thing you can count on with Ryan Hawkins is that he won’t cheat you with effort. Despite his limitations defensively, he plays hard and can catch opposing teams off-guard and sneak his way into a steal. Where he gets in trouble is his poor lateral quickness, and it wasn’t a surprise that teams were putting him on an island defensively at times. It was also unfortunate that coach Khoury would have to use him as a centre when they were shorthanded, which is a big ask for him. Offensively, Hawkins is on the floor as a floor spacer, and he comes in cold more often than not. It also doesn’t help that some of the shots he would get were grenades with the clock winding down. It’s a shame that he never got a game with more than four three-point attempts, as the offense often forgot about him whenever he got a couple to go down.
Gabe Brown, C+
Showcase Cup: Games Played - 18 (28.6 MPG), 11.7 PPG(40.7% FG%), 32.7% 3P% (5.6 3PA), 5.1 REB, 1.5 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.3 BLK, 0.9 TO, 46+/- TOT
Regular Season: Games Played - 30 (23.3 MPG), 12.5 PPG(46.3% FG%), 41% 3P% (6.8 3PA), 3.1 REB, 1 AST, 0.5 STL, 0.2 BLK, 0.9 TO, 59+/- TOT
Gabe Brown started off the Showcase Cup making a case for a call-up, averaging 16 points on 43.5% shooting from behind the arc through the first nine games as a starter. Unfortunately, the team’s instability, sticky offense, and chemistry issues led to coach Khoury shuffling the starting lineup, and Brown was the odd man out. It took until the Regular Season portion of the year that he found his footing back, averaging 12.5 points on 41% perimeter shooting. The offense is much better when he’s on the floor, as he’s an active perimeter threat and unstoppable when he goes downhill in transition.
TWEEN THE LEGS. IN-GAME. WHAT DID WE JUST WITNESS GABE BROWN pic.twitter.com/FO0e2V9b2I— Raptors 905 (@Raptors905) February 3, 2023
David Johnson, B-
Showcase Cup: Games Played - 13 (17.1 MPG), 6.5 PPG(37.6% FG%), 22.9% 3P% (2.7 3PA), 1.9 REB, 2.4 AST, 0.5 STL, 0.3 BLK, 0.9 TO, -36+/- TOT
Regular Season: Games Played - 28 (21.6 MPG), 10.7 PPG(48.3% FG%), 38.1% 3P% (3.5 3PA), 3 REB, 2.9 AST, 0.6 STL, 0.4 BLK, 1.1 TO, 19+/- TOT
David Johnson made do with the limited minutes he got to start the season and took advantage of the extended minutes he got more often than not. Johnson started the season rehabbing an injury, and with the glut at his position, he could’ve easily been pushed out of the position. However, Johnson’s Swiss-army skill set and his impact on the floor made it tough for coach Khoury not to play him. His versatility on both ends of the floor allowed coach Khoury to throw him on various lineups without worrying about the fit. More importantly, Johnson’s probably the club leader regarding buzzer-beaters and game-winners.
Saben Lee, B-
Showcase Cup: Games Played - 7 (33.6 MPG), 21.7 PPG(56.3% FG%), 15% 3P% (2.9 3PA), 3.4 REB, 6 AST, 2.1 STL, 0.6 BLK, 2.1 TO, 1+/- TOT
Regular Season: Games Played - 5 (35.9 MPG), 16.6 PPG(46.4% FG%), 35.3% 3P% (3.4 3PA), 4.6 REB, 8.2 AST, 2.4 STL, 1 BLK, 3 TO, 0+/- TOT
Saben Lee was the hands-down leader of the Raptors 905 to start the Showcase Cup. He looked like a “Jrue Holiday-starter pack” at the G League level, with his defense and physicality on both ends of the floor. He plays hard every play, and he’s just missing a good jumper that would allow him to stick with an NBA team. Lee makes a good impression of Steve Nash’s “keep the ball alive” probe at the teeth of the opposing team’s defense, while creating an advantage for his teammates. Unfortunately, defense would sag if he’s got the ball and sometimes wholly ignore him off-ball. However, it didn’t prevent teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns from picking him up, and he’s been with the latter ever since.
Justin Champagnie, C+
Showcase Cup: Games Played - 10 (33.5 MPG), 22.5 PPG(51.5% FG%), 36.8% 3P% (3.8 3PA), 10.3 REB, 2.7 AST, 1.6 STL, 0.9 BLK, 2.9 TO, -53+/- TOT
34 PTS 9 REB 5 AST— NBA G League (@nbagleague) December 15, 2022
Justin Champagnie scored a SEASON-HIGH to lead the @Raptors905 to their third win in four games. He’s averaging 21.3 points (53.0% FG) and 9.7 rebounds this year. pic.twitter.com/MNcgOSO41j
Justin Champagnie missed the early part of the Showcase Cup rehabbing from injury, and rust was clearly evident during his first few games with the 905. It was not a shock to see his perimeter shooting touch abandon him early, given the lack of court time he had due to the assortment of injuries that sidelined him since the Summer League. Champagnie also had the unenviable task of anchoring horrible transition lineups at times. Unfortunately, the Toronto Raptors let Champagnie go just as he was heating up in the G League, averaging 26.3 points and hitting 44.8% from deep. Earlier this season, I wrote Champagnie’s Player Preview. I mused that getting a standard roster spot might be a double-edged sword and that the stakes are higher, needing him to show a bit more reason to keep him. Did he deserve to get cut? Probably not, but the team was in panic mode then, and he became collateral damage. Champagnie worked his way up with the Sioux Falls Skyforce and recently earned a call-up with the Boston Celtics.
Reggie Perry, C+
Showcase Cup: Games Played - 17 (33.1 MPG), 21.1 PPG(43% FG%), 26.3% 3P% (4.7 3PA), 9.2 REB, 3.5 AST, 1.2 STL, 1.5 BLK, 3.9 TO, -88+/- TOT
Regular Season: Games Played - 17 (30 MPG), 21.2 PPG(45% FG%), 25% 3P% (3.8 3PA), 6.9 REB, 3.4 AST, 1 STL, 0.8 BLK, 2.9 TO, 10+/- TOT
Reggie Perry had one of the most underrated seasons in the G League this season. He carried the Raptors 905’s offense often, being the engine of the half-court offense as one of his significant improvements this season. This move allowed Perry to showcase his passing chops. He was a bit turnover-prone while pushing the limits of what he could do, as some of his passes were a bit risky, or it looked like the recipient might not be expecting an advanced pass coming from him. Unfortunately, Perry could not get his perimeter shot going, and that’s a swing skill that could earn him looks at the next level. The losing and lack of front-court help probably took a toll on Perry, as he would get frustrated on several occasions this season from a call/non-call. It’s funny seeing a rookie like Ron Harper Jr. trying to calm down a vet like Perry at times. He did leave us with this gem:
REGGIE PERRY AT THE BUZZER FOR THE WIN pic.twitter.com/gijCtei7Yr— Raptors 905 (@Raptors905) November 12, 2022
Joe Wieskamp, C-
Regular Season: Games Played - 10 (32.6 MPG), 13.4 PPG(43.5% FG%), 38.5% 3P% (6.5 3PA), 5.4 REB, 1.3 AST, 0.5 STL, 0.7 BLK, 0.7 TO, -17+/- TOT
Joe Wieskamp’s Raptors 905 stint was not any different from his Austin Spurs or Wisconsin Herd stint: Be a release valve around the perimeter, and knock down the shots. Everything else that he can bring to the table would be gravy. Wieskamp shot the ball from the perimeter well, hitting 38.5% on 6.5 attempts. However, his utility on the floor is limited outside of his shooting and rebounding. His lack of athleticism/explosion hurts his offense inside the arc. Defensively, Wieskamp’s a neutral defender at best and a much better team defender than an on-ball defender.
Christian Koloko, C+
Regular Season: Games Played - 12 (27.2 MPG), 12.9 PPG(57.9% FG%), 15.8% 3P% (1.6 3PA), 7.9 REB, 1.3 AST, 0.5 STL, 2.8 BLK, 2.1 TO, 62+/- TOT
Christian Koloko’s numbers won’t jump out of your screen, but the Raptors 905 are typically winning every time he’s on the floor. His defensive impact needs to be overstated more, and his 2.8 blocks per game feel like it’s doing a disservice to how good his rim protection is. The Raptors 905’s defensive rating is 101.6 when he’s on the floor, with a Net Rating of 10.4. In comparison, the Long Island Nets hold the best defensive rating in the regular season at 103.7.
Per his scouting projection, Koloko’s drop coverage defended pick-and-roll possessions well enough at the G League level. The issue with Koloko’s 905 stint was the fit with Reggie Perry, as they both occupied the same space in the half-court. His assignment also showcased how raw he is offensively. Still, it showed encouraging signs, such as making reads at the nail/post and some excellent footwork on the post.
Dalano Banton, C+
Showcase Cup: Games Played - 1 (35 MPG), 19 PPG(42.1% FG%), 16.7% 3P% (6 3PA), 5 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 0 BLK, 6 TO, 1+/- TOT
Regular Season: Games Played - 14 (31.7 MPG), 18.9 PPG(44% FG%), 26.4% 3P% (6.2 3PA), 6.3 REB, 4.8 AST, 1.2 STL, 0.9 BLK, 2.9 TO, -2+/- TOT
smooth catch-and-shoot turnaround middy by Dalano Banton pic.twitter.com/tfhK4FW2EK— JD Quirante (@jdkeyrants) January 13, 2023
Dalano Banton’s sophomore stint with the Raptors 905 wasn’t as electric as his rookie campaign. His counting numbers are down, and injuries affected his rhythm. A couple of things that won’t show on any boxscore out there: first, is his improvement in being more in control in the half-court setting, and second, his improving perimeter shooting mechanics. Part of his numbers going down is the move to a bit more off-ball and hunting those catch-and-shoot and middy reps.
Ron Harper Jr., B+
Showcase Cup: Games Played - 14 (33.6 MPG), 16.9 PPG(47.1% FG%), 28.9% 3P% (5.4 3PA), 5.4 REB, 2.2 AST, 1.5 STL, 1.5 BLK, 1.2 TO, -26+/- TOT
Regular Season: Games Played - 29 (32.7 MPG), 17.3 PPG(49.9% FG%), 36.4% 3P% (6 3PA), 5.3 REB, 4.1 AST, 1.1 STL, 1.2 BLK, 1.7 TO, 29+/- TOT
30 PTS 11 AST 10 REB— NBA G League (@nbagleague) March 22, 2023
Ron Harper Jr. dropped his first career TRIPLE-DOUBLE as the @Raptors905 picked up a huge win over the Skyhawks to keep their #NBAGLeaguePlayoffs dreams alive! pic.twitter.com/GXYzFYY5mA
Ron Harper Jr. was the most improved prospect for the Raptors 905 this season, IMO. He went from picking his spots in the offense during the Showcase Cup to playing point-forward and sometimes the engine of the offense in the latter half of the season. It wasn’t a smooth transition on both ends of the floor for Harper Jr. Still, his IQ allowed him to quickly learn from his mistakes and get comfortable with his ever-changing role throughout the season. One thing you can’t take out of his game is his confidence and ability to knock down clutch shots. However, he’ll need to get better shooting corner 3s if he’s got aspirations of getting a look from the Raptors or another NBA team.
Jeff Dowtin Jr., B
Showcase Cup: Games Played - 14 (35.5 MPG), 19.4 PPG(49% FG%), 28.3% 3P% (3.3 3PA), 3.4 REB, 6.9 AST, 1.3 STL, 0.5 BLK, 1.4 TO, -20+/- TOT
Regular Season: Games Played - 19 (32.8 MPG), 16.9 PPG(50.2% FG%), 41.3% 3P% (3.9 3PA), 4.2 REB, 5.9 AST, 1.8 STL, 0.4 BLK, 1.9 TO, -3+/- TOT
Statistically, Jeff Dowtin Jr. regressed a bit, but it’s a byproduct of a few things. For one, there were too many mouths to feed for the most part. Dowtin Jr.’s unselfish nature made him take a backseat and play more like a game manager, especially in the first quarter of their games. It drove me crazy sometimes, seeing him passive to a fault on most of his first shift to start games when he could clearly score on whoever was covering him.
FOURTH QUARTER JEFE.— Raptors 905 (@Raptors905) February 4, 2023
JEFF DOWTIN JR.
There’s also the spacing issue, having to play with bigs that clogged the paint, which is why his numbers from the floater range and at the rim regressed. Dowtin Jr. also had to play off-ball at times, and that’s probably by design, letting the likes of Hassani Gravett and David Johnson run the offense. However, one thing that stood out for sure is his scoring in the clutch. There were many games when the team needed him to take over or bail them out in the fourth, and he’s delivered more often than not. Another thing that stood out is Dowtin Jr.’s improvement from the perimeter. After not finding his rhythm during the Showcase Cup, Dowtin Jr. steadily improved during the regular season.
Sterling Brown, A-
Showcase Cup: Games Played - 2 (32.3 MPG), 13 PPG(40% FG%), 20% 3P% (2.5 3PA), 5.5 REB, 1.5 AST, 1 STL, 0.5 BLK, 1.5 TO, -14+/- TOT
Regular Season: Games Played - 24 (32.1 MPG), 15.7 PPG(49.1% FG%), 45% 3P% (5.5 3PA), 7.2 REB, 4.8 AST, 1.1 STL, 0.4 BLK, 2.1 TO, 45+/- TOT
Sterling Brown’s got my vote as the MVP of this Raptors 905 this season. He initially came off the bench behind some of the touted prospects to start his 905 campaign since he joined mid-season, but he made it tough for coach Khoury not to start him. Brown brought to the table whatever it was that they needed from him. Scoring, perimeter shooting, rebounding, playmaking, tough-nosed defense, and energy/intensity. The most surprising aspect of his game to me is his playmaking chops, and he fits the combo guard role like a glove. In essence, Brown’s got the profile that the Raptors were looking for when they unloaded Justin Champagnie and signed Joe Wieskamp and Will Barton. Who knew that a player like that was hiding right under the Raptors’ noses???
Eric Khoury, C-
Showcase Cup: 7-11 (Did not qualify for the AT&T Winter Showcase), 113 PPG (10th), 16th in OFFRTG, 25th in DEFRTG
Regular Season: 16-16 (Missed the Playoffs), 116.3 PPG (12th), 12th in OFFRTG, 15th in DEFRTG
It was a rough ride for coach Eric Khoury’s rookie season with the Raptors 905. The team wound up with a losing record during the Showcase Cup part of the season, going 7-11, while missing the playoffs in the Regular Season after going 16-16. This is the first time the Raptors 905 have missed the postseason since their inaugural season.
It’s a tall order to be handed an imbalanced roster, and with very little training camp, having to quickly figure out what works and make adjustments while balancing the management of egos on the team and the mandate from the front office. That’s especially tough for someone with no head coaching experience on their resume and armed with a coaching staff that’s also a bit thinner on the coaching resume compared to the past iterations.
The toughest part out of all of those things is managing egos — keeping guys in check, knowing when to hold guys accountable, knowing when to give more rope, and knowing when to assert himself.
It wasn’t all too bad for Khoury and his staff for their rookie campaign, as despite the record, the team showed in-season improvements (from Showcase Cup to Regular Season). They made a huge jump in some categories, such as Offensive Rating (16th to 12th) and Defensive Rating (25th to 15th). They also fixed the “sticky” offense that plagued them during the regular season, finding better roster balance and combination as the regular season went on. The team went from 30th in perimeter shooting percentage to 15th in the regular season. Also, they moved the ball much better, jumping from 26th to 7th in Assist percentage. The Raptors 905 also improved defensively, although the rating difference doesn’t accurately show the improvement. They went from running around like headless chickens during the Showcase Cup, to their point-of-attack defense and rotations looking more coherent and capable of funnelling offensive players to their bigs later in the regular season.
Several players improved, from incremental growth (Perry, Dowtin Jr., Brown) to exponential growth (Harper Jr., Kelley). If one asked me what Khoury’s strength is right now, it would have to be on his ATO play calls. Throughout the season, he drew up numerous interesting ATO plays and will be bold with them even if the game is on the line, and has a good feel on when to let the best player go ISO. Lastly, one of the things that Khoury got better at as the season progressed was milking the things that work; after all, there’s no need to make things complicated.