In an off-season that has given Raptors fans more discussion and excitement than usual, it seems that intrigue is carrying over to the Las Vegas Summer League. I can’t remember the last time, if ever, I’ve heard Raps fans sound genuinely excited about the July portion of the schedule.
Maybe it’s the fact that last year’s lockout makes this the first summer league action in two years, maybe it’s the fact that the Raptors’ summer league roster actually has a decent group of players to keep an eye on in Vegas, but whatever the reason, there definitely seems to be more interest than usual in the week long event.
Here’s a quick preview:
Players to Keep an Eye On:
Ed Davis – You don’t see many third-year, full-time NBA players at Summer League, but Davis has been included in Toronto’s summer plans this year. I’m not too concerned about whether or not Davis can post inflated numbers against inferior competition, but I would like to see him show off the offensive game he’s reportedly been working on. Look for a more refined jumper and overall offensive arsenal.
Terrence Ross – Ross was said to have impressed the Raptors with his work ethic and attention to defence in his pre-draft workout. In his first glimpse of anything close to resembling NBA ball, I’d like to see some of that defensive intensity from the No. 8 overall pick. Sure, an offensive explosion or shooting clinic would be nice too, but I’m looking forward to seeing the complete package, which includes defence and rebounding, that Ross has to offer.
Quincy Acy – The Reggie Evans comparisons are fair from an intensity and effort point of view, but are beyond unfair from an offensive point of view. Acy’s never going to be an offensive weapon or legitimate offensive option, but if he gets the ball in and around the basket, he’s going to try to abuse the rim, not botch lay-ups under the bucket the way Evans used to. Acy’s incredible motor makes the workhorse a must watch Summer League guy for me, and could make him a fan favourite in Toronto months before the season even starts.
Ben Uzoh – Uzoh did everything that was asked of him and more as a 10-day player towards the end of last season, culminating in the first Raptors triple-double in 11 years in the team’s season finale against the tanking Nets. With or without Jose Calderon, a solid Summer League showing from the 24-year-old point guard could see Uzoh earn himself a third string job with the Raptors come October.
*Xavier guard Tu Holloway, who some thought could also be playing for a point guard job with the Raptors, was originally listed on Toronto’s Summer League roster, but news emerged on Thursday night that he would no longer be part of the mix.
The Rest of the Roster:
Bobby Brown, Rodney Carney, Devoe Joseph, Daniel Orton, Trent Plaisted, Blake Schilb, Terrel Stoglin
Joseph is a Torontonian who played four years of NCAA ball for Minnesota and Oregon, scoring nearly 17 points per game on over 47 per cent shooting for the Ducks in 2011-2012.
Stoglin played two seasons at Maryland and proved to be a solid scorer, pouring in 21.6 a game for the Terps to lead the ACC last season. Stoglin was suspended for a year by the school in May for violating the athlete code of conduct, and like Joseph, went undrafted.
Carney was drafted 16th overall by the Bulls in 2006, and even started 35 times for the 76ers during the 2006-2007 season. Orton is a 6’10, 255-pound centre from Kentucky who was drafted in the first round by the Magic in 2010. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Orton land himself a job in the Association at some point this season. He suited up for 16 games with Orlando last year, starting twice.
Raptors Summer League schedule:
- Friday, July 13, 6 p.m. vs. Rockets
Rockets players to watch: Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Jones, Royce White, Donatas Motiejunas, Chandler Parsons, Scott Machado, Marcus Morris, Zoran Dragic (Goran’s younger brother). The Rockets appear to have the deepest and most intriguing mix of talent in Vegas, and one has to wonder if we’ll see some of that aforementioned talent eventually involved in a trade to bring Dwight Howard to Houston.
- Sunday, July 15, 6:30 p.m. vs. Heat
Heat players to watch: J’Covan Brown, Norris Cole, Dexter Pittman
- Monday, July 16, 6:30 p.m. vs. Mavericks
Mavericks players to watch: Jae Crowder, Jared Cunningham, Justin Dentmon, Solomon Jones
- Wednesday, July 18, 10 p.m. vs. Kings
Kings players to watch: Thomas Robinson, Jimmer Fredette, Hassan Whiteside
- Thursday, July 19, 8:30 p.m. vs. Knicks
Knicks players to watch: ?