The Toronto Raptors have assigned Lucas Nogueira, Norman Powell, and Delon Wright to Raptors 905 of the D-League, the team announced.
The trio will be in action Wednesday morning for an 11 a.m. tip against the Erie Bayhawks, a fun opponent if you can get up for it. The Bayhawks employ Canadians in Melvin Ejim and Myck Kabongo and also have Adreian Payne on assignment from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Ejim’s play has been encouraging for fans of Canada Basketball, as he’s taken noticeable strides as a ball-handler and a playmaker. Kabongo, meanwhile, gave Wright fits with his aggressive defense and will be a good test. Payne, a stretchy five, will test Nogueira at the other end by stretching out the defense.
Conspicuous by his absence is Bruno Caboclo, a 905 regular. With the quick turnaround – all three are likely to be recalled for Thursday’s game against the New York Knicks – and Caboclo already blowing past previous career-highs in minutes at any level, it’s a chance to get three players who may be called on at some point some significant run.
All three players got into Tuesday’s blowout victory against the Washington Wizards, though not until garbage time. The highlight was Nogueira hitting a triple, something he’s been working on (1-of-8) a little bit when on assignment.
In six games with the 905, Nogueira has averaged 8.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 2.2 blocks while shooting 50 percent from the floor. He had an encouraging three-game stretch with the parent club during Jonas Valanciunas’ absence but was befallen by an ankle injury of his own, sapping some of his momentum. As a result, he’s played just eight minutes at the NBA level since Dec. 26.
Powell, meanwhile, has been thriving with the 905, with the team putting a great deal of focus on his playmaking development. He’s averaging 26.3 points on 48.8-percent shooting with 7.2 free throws per-game, and his singular ability to get to the hoop has begun to open up passing lanes for teammates. He’s averaging 4.2 assists, an encouraging mark that you look past the 4.5 turnovers to take encouragement from, because this is the atmosphere for him to make mistakes in. He’s also pulling in 3.5 rebounds and notching 2.2 steals, the latter a byproduct of his excellent defense at the one and two.
He’ll have the ball in his hands a little less Wednesday because Wright is on assignment, too. Wright’s played 12 games with the 905, averaging 18 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.7 steals. He’s shooting 52.7 percent from the floor, looking poised and polished running the offense, and he’s hit an encouraging 35.7 percent of his threes. Somewhat surprising given his reputation coming out of college, it’s his defense that’s a bit behind in terms of NBA readiness, particularly in the pick-and-roll.
Three fringe-rotation players getting run is a good reason to tune in, should your workflow allow you to fire up a YouTube stream before lunch. Wright could be in line for playing time Thursday if Kyle Lowry is forced out of action, an injury that could also mean more run for Powell. Nogueira, meanwhile, is buried on the depth chart but could also be one of the team’s more attractive low-cost trade chips three weeks out from the deadline.