The Toronto Raptors announced their roster for the 2015-16 Las Vegas Summer League on Thursday. The roster is as follows:
|NO.||PLAYER||POS||HT||WT||BIRTHDATE||PRIOR TO NBA / HOME COUNTRY||NBA EXP.|
|15||Davion Berry||G||6’4||185||11/1/1991||Weber State / USA||R|
|20||Bruno Caboclo||F||6’9||218||9/21/1995||Pinheiros/Sky (Sao Paulo) / Brazil||2|
|11||Drew Crawford||G||6’5||215||10/18/1990||Northwestern / USA||R|
|22||DeAndre Daniels||F||6’9||196||4/15/1992||Connecticut / USA||R|
|12||Jalen Jones||F||6’7||223||5/27/1993||Texas A&M / USA||R|
|53||Alex Kirk||C||6’11||252||11/14/1991||New Mexico / USA||1|
|13||Yanick Moreira||C||6’11||220||7/31/1991||SMU / Angola||R|
|42||Jakob Poeltl||C||7′||248||10/15/1995||Utah / Austria||R|
|24||Norman Powell||G||6’4||215||5/25/1993||UCLA / USA||1|
|43||Pascal Siakam||F||6’9||230||2/4/1994||New Mexico State / Cameroon||R|
|25||E.J. Singler||F||6’6||215||6/6/1990||Oregon / USA||R|
|32||Evan Smotrycz||F||6’9||235||8/2/1991||Maryland / USA||R|
|2||Quinton Upshur||G||6’5||207||6/16/1993||Northern Arizona / USA||R|
|23||Fred VanVleet||G||6′||186||2/25/1994||Wichita State / USA||R|
|55||Delon Wright||G||6’5||183||4/26/1992||Utah / USA||1|
It’s a pretty strong group, and reigning First-Team All-Tournament player Norman Powell should have a fair amount of support as he guns for the tournament championship, a stated goal of his. Here’s a bit about each player on the roster.
Bruno Caboclo – Entering his third LVSL, Caboclo will look to build on a sophomore season that saw him take major strides at the D-League level. That means little to Raptors fans, of course, who have grown impatient in some circles waiting for Caboclo to expedite beyond the infamous “two years away from being two years away” timeline. The Brazilian averaged 12 points and four rebounds in five tournament games a year ago, and he’ll need to put up bigger, or more efficient, numbers to impress this time around. Considering he’s flanked by some pretty good players here, he should be in a good situation to focus on defense and help space the floor. He could see some time at power forward, too, where he got a lot of reps last season.
Jakob Poeltl – The Raptors are very high on their No. 9 overall pick, and the Austrian will get his first chance to show the fan base what he can do. He’ll also get to team back up with Wright, whom he overlapped with for a season at Utah. Against Summer League competition, Poeltl should get the opportunity to show his skill as a dive man and maybe even flash his ball skills from the high post, all while getting comfortable in the Raptors’ defensive system.
Norman Powell – Last year, he wanted to make a name for himself and fight his way to a roster spot. Not satisfied with doing so and earning All-Tournament honors – because when would he ever be? – Powell returns to Vegas with his eyes firmly on a championship. If the Raptors make such a run, expect the sophomore to take home MVP honors. He’s probably “too good” for summer league, but Powell’s the type who would have been working his tail off somewhere in the offseason, anyway, so why not do it within a game situation with his teammates?
Pascal Siakam – General manager Masai Ujiri has promised everyone will love Siakam when they get to know him. His game certainly profiles like a fan-favorite hustle player, and Siakam can introduce himself to Raptors fans in much the same way Powell did a year ago. Fair or otherwise, how the No. 27 overall pick looks in Veags could determine where expectations are set for his rookie year (although it’s probably safe to assume substantial D-League time, regardless).
Delon Wright – Often the forgotten man in the Raptors’ prospect bundle due to a messy path to playing time, Wright should stand out as one of the better, more mature players in Vegas. His offensive game already proved too advanced for the D-League last year, and if he can show he’s added strength – his endless array of gym selfies on Instagram need to be backed up – and honed his 3-point shot further, he could make a case for some NBA playing time in two-guard looks.
Names from the organization
Davion Berry – A trade deadline acquisition by Raptors 905, Berry took off in 10 games with the club, proving quite a steal. Touted as a defense-first wing, Berry delivered by defending across three spots but also showed an advanced dribble-attack game, providing more offense than originally expected, even earning an invite to the D-League minicamp in May (though he had to pull out with a high ankle sprain). There’s a lot to like with Berry as a potential 3-and-D weapon down the line, and how rapidly he improved in 2015-16 is really encouraging. Don’t be surprised if Berry gets a camp invite following a strong tournament.
DeAndre Daniels – A forgotten asset of sorts, the team’s 2013 second-round pick has been out of sight for two seasons. After being drafted, he spent a year in Perth honing his game and dominating the glass from the wing, but his development was stunted by a pair of injuries. Then, right before summer league last year, he suffered a Jones fracture in his foot, costing him most of the season. He eventually joined the 905 for the stretch run but really didn’t get to do much more than shake the rust off. He was really excited about a potential Vegas opportunity when we last spoke at the end of the D-League season, and it will be interesting to see if he’s added some bulk to slot him in as a combo-forward rather than just a super-long three (which is probably important to his NBA potential).
E.J. Singler – Like Berry, Singler was acquired at the D-League trade deadline and really impressed down the stretch. Known mostly as a shooter, Singler shot 29-of-61 from outside in his 10 games but also brought more to the table, defending across multiple positions (even slotting in at center for the odd possession), hitting the glass hard, and working as a secondary pick-and-roll operator from the wing. Like Berry, he’ll be looking to leverage a strong tournament into a camp invite, and the 905 would surely love to have him back if he doesn’t ultimately take an overseas offer.
Drew Crawford – Undrafted in 2014, Crawford leveraged a strong rookie D-League season into a summer league stint with the Raptors last year, where he averaged 9.6 points in five games. One highly successful season in Israel later – he averaged 15.8 points and 5.3 rebounds and shot 34.5 percent on threes, earning an All-Star nod – Crawford is back with the Raptors once again. The organization clearly likes the 25-year-old, and one wonders if he’s a target for the 905 if he opts to come back stateside this year.
Jalen Jones – Jones was in the very first group of prospects the Raptors worked out publicly ahead of the draft and kind of set the tone for how wide a net the Raptors were casting in those sessions. Considered a bit undersizedby height (6-foot-7) alone, his 6-foot-11 wingspan speaks to the defensive potential the Raptors may see here. He needs to add range, but he seems a pretty reasonable D-League target, given what the Raptors have done with similarly profiled players in the past.
Alex Kirk – A name that should be familiar, the 24-year-old Kirk went undrafted in 2014 but caught on with the Cavaliers for five games that season while plying his trade in the D-League to fill the rest of his time. Last season, Kirk played in Italy, where he averaged 16.1 points and 7.8 rebounds while flashing consistent 3-point range (33.3 percent on 93 attempts) for the first time. At 6-foot-11, range out even close to the 3-point line makes Kirk an interesting prospect.
Yanick Moreira – Stay with me here: Masai Ujiri found an international-born player with a really good wingspan. Moreira measured at 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan way back at the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit , and while I couldn’t find measurements since, it stands to reason he’s gotten larger in the years since. now 24, the Angola-born Moreira is coming off of a season split between France and Spain. He averaged 7.5 points and four rebounds in 17.1 minutes across those stints, though he only appeared in 13 games. (By the way, Moreira may be best known for his gut-wrenching goaltend for SMU on a Bryce Alford game-winning 3-pointer in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, after which he painfully took the blame for the loss.)
Evan Smotrycz – Undrafted out of Maryland last year, Smotrycz spent this year killing it in Cyrpus. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 15.4 points and, most notably, knocked down 44.3 percent of his threes, something he became pretty well known for in college up until a dry spell as a senior. Between Kirk and Smotrycz, the Raptors’ guards should have some nice room to operate within, at least in their second units.
Quinton Upshur – Another player returning to the U.S. after one post-grad season abroad, Upshur spent his 2015-16 season in beautiful Portugal. There, he averaged 15.2 points and 2.9 steals while hitting 34.6 percent of his threes. It’s a little tough to find much more info about the Virginia-born wing.
Fred VanVleet – A potential second-round pick, VanVleet was among the names the Raptors worked out in the lead-up to the draft (and was my No. 60-ranked prospect). If the Raptors make a deep tournament run, VanVleet will offer plenty of experience in one-and-done formats, having been a major player at Wichita State the last four years. He’s a bit lacking in size and isn’t an elite athlete, but he runs a very steady offense and makes very few mistakes, grading out very well by analytic models as a result. There’s probably an NBA player here, and VanVleet’s been clear he won’t go the discount D-League route (although maybe a camp guarantee would change his mind?).
The rotation should look something like this:
PG: Wright, VanVleet
SG: Powell, Berry, Crawford, Upshur
SF: Caboclo, Singler, Jones
PF: Siakam, Daniels, Smotrycz
C: Poeltl, Kirk, Moreira
*Lucas Nogueira is absent from the list, which stands out. His absence is a combination of experience – he’s played in the tournament three times – and real life things taking precedence. The organization opted to give him the tournament off, but he’s expected to be around Vegas working out with the team (as are a few other Raptors).
*A few people also asked about Sim Bhullar, whose D-League rights the Raptors hold. He’s still with the Canadian national team, leaving the Summer League roster without a Canadian player.
*The roster can still change up until Friday.
*Jama Mahlalela will coach, as Raptors Republic reported in mid-June. The Raptors’ player development specialist seems the most likely bet to take up Jesse Mermuys’ mantle as coach of Raptors 905, but even if that doesn’t end up being the case, this should be a good growing experience for the Swazi-Canadian UBC product (represent).
The schedule for the tournament was released last week and is as follows:
July 8 vs. Sacramento, Cox Pavilion, 7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET)
July 9 scrimmage vs. D-League Select, 12 p.m. PT (3 p.m. ET)
July 10 vs. Minnesota, Cox Pavilion, 3 p.m. PT (6 p.m. ET)
July 11 vs. Dallas, Thomas & Mack Center, 3:30 p.m. PT (6:30 p.m. ET)
July 13 – Seeds 9-24 in action
July 14 – Seeds 1-8 and July 13 winners in action
July 15 – Losers from July 13 & 14 in action
July 16 – Winners from July 14 in action
July 17 – Semi-finals
July 18 – Championship
As a programming note, Raptors Republic will be on hand for the first few games of the tournament. We’ll have coverage of the later part of the tournament, too, just from afar.