Summer league is a time for many things in the life of the NBA. It offers teams a chance to fill their rosters with young and upcoming players. It offers older players a chance to earn their way back to the promised land of the NBA or an increased role of their current team. It also gives first and second round draft choices and opportunity to show their new teams what they can do.
For Bryan Colangelo, Ed Stefanski and Dwane Casey this years summer league offers them a chance to fill the last few roster spots and get a chance to see more from players they didn’t see enough of last season.
This year there ar three key questions Bryan Colangelo intends to answer from observing this years summer league team.
Who is the Raptors 3rd Point Guard?
Ben Uzoh comes into Summer league play as the clear favourite to win the third PG spot. With young Point Guard Tu Holloway no longer on the Raptors roster it is going to take a miracle for Uzoh to lose the job, or a trade. That being said, he’s done a lot so far to earn the roster spot.
Uzoh works hard on both ends of the floor and so far in Vegas he is showing he can run the offense with control. He seems to be becoming more confident at the helm despite a scary looking assist to turnover ratio.
Uzoh is fast and, like newly acquired Kyle Lowry, he is a point guard that can rebound the ball well. This is a trait that Dwane Casey loves in his point guards. Uzoh is fast as lightning and certainly knows how to score, but needs to limit the turnovers and continue to show a strong commitment to defense if he is to be effective as the floor general.
Uzoh will likely stick with the Raptors provided they don’t make any moves involving point guards.
Was Terrence Ross a Good Draft Selection?
Raptor fans, fickle as always, were not immediately impressed with the draft day selection of Terrence Ross. Fans wanted Harrison Barnes, Austin Rivers, or some other player they had seen on TV prior to the NBA draft in June.
Ross, however is off to a pretty good start in Summer League play averaging 15.3ppg and has been one of the go to guys for this Raptors team.
Obviously three games doesn’t do a whole lot to change the minds of those that didn’t want him, but there is a lot to be impressed with. He has an absolutely beautiful shot and seems to know how to score in bunches. This is something the Raptors could use at the shooting guard position as Demar DeRozan has been great driving the ball but has had his fair share of issues shooting the ball.
Ross is also a strong defender and is likely to give opponents fits on the defensive end of the floor. He seems like a Dwane Casey kind of guy. Casey seems to like what he has seen from Ross at the University of Washington and now in summer league.
“We need scoring…We’re going to need that from Terrence when we begin our veteran training camp. We need scoring punch off the bench… it’s important that he comes in with that scoring mentality.”
The Raptors are hoping that the scoring touch he has shown thus far during the summer will carry over when the season starts. They need scoring depth off the bench from the wing. Ross will be counted on to provide it, even though he’s just a rookie.
So far the kid has been impressive and seems destined for heavy minutes.
Ross looks every bit like a player that Raptor fans are going to like a whole lot. He may not have been the first choice of the Raptors fanbase, but like other picks before him, he may win them over yet.
Is Ed Davis part of the Raptors core?
Ed Davis was considered an absolute steal last year at 13, but struggled at times last year to find consistency. He played well for a game here or a game there, but wasn’t able to string a number of good games together for an extended period. His minutes were not consistent and seemed to find himself in the Dwane Casey doghouse for parts of the season.
If he is going to make the most of his summer league audition he is going to have to show consistency and toughness. These are traits Dwane Casey wants in his players and Ed didn’t always show it last year. As the clear leader of the summer league team, this is his chance to make amends.
Davis is an elite rebounder so the Raptors brass isn’t particularly concerned with that aspect of his game. They want to see him score. They will be paying close attention to how Davis performs in the post, how he shoots the ball and whether or not he is able to create second chance points.
Ed is the most experienced player on the Raptors summer league roster and often the offense will revolve around him. Davis needs to seize the opportunity.
Davis doesn’t have a set role on the Raptors next year. He has long been rumoured to be on the move as part of a Calderon package and could find himself the odd man out if he does in fact stay.
Davis needs to show the Raptors brass that they need his rebounding skills and that he has developed a strong move to the hoop and an increased ability to work the post.
If Davis doesn’t dominate the Summer league he may find himself on the outside in the battle for minutes at the PF position.
This is a chance for Davis to have some say over his own fate. So far he is averaging 23 points per game and is showing he can be a bigger part of the Raptors team, if they want him to be.
Uzoh, Ross and Davis all have the opportunity to have some control over their role for the Raptors this coming season. So far, all three are showing signs they belong in Raptor red this fall.
The Zan Tabak Herald