The Toronto Raptors have earned the top seed in the championship portion of the Las Vegas Summer League tournament.
With a 3-0 record in the round robin portion, the Raptors tied with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers atop the standings. The Raptors owned the tiebreaker between the teams, earning the most “quarter points” (for winning tro trying quarters).
As a result, they now await the winner of Golden State and Houston (Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. ET). Those teams were seeded 16th and 17th, respectively, out of the 24 teams, and the Raptors will play the victor on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET at the Cox Pavilion. I believe that game will air on NBA TV Canada.
Buoyed by the why-is-he-even-playing-here performance of Norman Powell and a stout defense allowing just 0.73 points per-possessions, the Raptors blew out the Sacramento Kings, came back to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, and held on to beat the Dallas Mavericks. Powell is averaging 21.7 points per-game in 26.3 minutes and stands to repeat on the All-Tournament First Team. Should the Raptors make the run to the championship that he and a few others really seem to be gunning for, Powell would be the early favorite for MVP.
There’s still a lot of work to be done, and an interesting threat looms in the No. 2-seeded Lakers. They’re coached by former Raptors 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys, who’s hoping the two sides meet up in the finals. That would be a fun wrinkle, but the two sides won’t get to meet up unless both teams crack the finals. Keep in mind that the Raptors were the top seed in the early portion last year, too, and went home disappointed.
Should the Raptors win Thursday, they’d play again Saturday. The semifinals go down Sunday, and the championship game Monday. If the Raptors were to lose Thursday, they’d play a mostly meaningless game Friday and then head home.
It remains unclear if Pascal Siakam will be back for Thursday’s game. He’s presently in Canada sorting out immigration paperwork while also nursing a sore knee.