Watching summer league, you wouldn’t have pegged the Raptors to invite Ronald Dupree to training camp. He did have an above-average summer where he averaged 10 points and 4 rebounds in five games while playing 20 minutes. Not bad numbers for someone stuck behind DeRozan and Weems in the “rotation”, but nothing about him stuck out to the point where you expected to hear his name again. The 6’7″ Dupree could make a mark for himself and becoming the next Jamario Moon, or more likely, he’ll fall in the way of summer signings made only because you need some bodies to have a good training camp. Jamal Sampson, Quincy Douby, Hassan Adams, Lavell Blanchard and Uros Slokar come to mind.
It’s a non-guaranteed deal which means that whatever the Raptors are paying him will not count against the cap unless he makes the roster. And what are chances of the that? Let’s look at the depth chart without Dupree:
PG: Jack, Calderon, Barbosa, Banks
SG: DeRozan, Weems
SF: Kleiza, Wright
PF: Johnson, Davis, Dorsey, Evans
C: Bargnani, Andersen, Alabi
That’s fifteen players right there, so if Dupree has to make the roster, one of these players will have to be let go or the Raptors will have to make a trade to shed a body. NBA rules state that if a player (say Alabi) is assigned to the the D-League, they still count towards the Inactive List of the NBA team, so the Raptors can’t sign Dupree and just send Alabi on assignment since they’d exceed the roster limit of 15 (unless the league makes an exception). The chances of Dupree sticking around are slim, the last time he played significant minutes for anyone was for the 2003-04 Bulls who won 23 games (career stats). After that it’s been a cups of coffee with Detroit and Minnesota, but it’s all been very Hassan Adamish.
Dupree played in Germany for Telekom Baskets Bonn (yes, Telekom is the name of a company), and gave this interview in March where he described himself as “a younger James Posey and a more athletic Luo Deng”. He also speaks of how he chose to go to Europe instead of waiting around for an NBA call:
I was hoping for a long NBA career after being in the NBA for 5 seasons but then, after playing in the D-League and playing in the Utah Jazz preseason training camp, I decided I may have better chances to explore Europe, instead of waiting for a call from the NBA. I have heard good and bad things about Europe and I just felt it was the right time to come here and see how it is.
Back to the problem of numbers, I wouldn’t mind having a hungry guy who can play defense on the roster, but it’s going to happen only after the Raptors shed a guaranteed contract. As already discussed in numerous posts before, Banks, Evans and Calderon are my prime candidates for a move. This is further verified by the depth chart which indicates a logjam at the point guard and power forward positions.
In other Raptors news, Ed Davis hurt his knee in an informal scrimmage in Mississauga. Not the smartest move to play a scrimmage on any court other than an NBA one, but I’m sure he had a good reason. No news yet on whether he’s out for the season or will be ready to moonlight in time for this Saturday’s YMCA rec-league in Uxbridge.
Finally, Jack Armstrong is giving some of his thoughts on the upcoming season and suggests that Linas Kleiza could see major minutes for the Raptors. No arguments here, the only way Kleiza’s minutes get reduced are if Julian Wright turns out to have a massive defensive impact, or if DeRozan and Weems play so well that Triano’s hand is forced into playing them together as SG/SF for major minutes. Even then, Kleiza’s versatility will result in him surpassing the career-high 23.9 minutes he played in 2007-08.
Eleven sleeps till training camp.