On offense, he has great size for the three-spot or great range for the four, and he has a pretty enough jumper that he could be a plus as a low-usage option. As his role grew at Iowa this year, he also got to work more as a cutter and creating for himself, showing potential to expand his game beyond a catch-and-shoot threat at the NBA level. His turnover rate was also exceptionally low for someone using as many possessions as he did, though again, it’s the 3-point stroke that stands out here, because his handle isn’t terrific and he’s not exceptionally quick.
A First-Team All-Big Ten player and consensus Second-Team All-American, Uthoff also brings the type of off-court maturity the Raptors appreciate (he was the Academic All-American of the Year and a member of the Big Ten All-Defensive team, too). His age is such that maybe his upside is limited relative to other names in the draft, but the Raptors may see a player who can contribute in a specific role in short order here, and it was once thought he might sniff the first round, so there’s value here as an undrafted free agent.
The question now becomes whether the Raptors can find a veteran to plug in at a forward spot using their bi-annual exception (or a veteran minimum). With six players already on the roster on their rookie deals, adding another inexperienced piece in Uthoff or VanVleet (or Drew Crawford or E.J. Singler, who I expect to be in camp if they don’t sign overseas) seems somewhat unlikely, but the available options on the wing or at the forward spot are pretty uninspiring. For now, the Raptors are pretty set at the guard and big spots, but unless they’re willing to go small-ish (Terrence Ross, DeMar DeRozan, Norman Powell) at the three for DeMarre Carroll insurance, they’re probably looking at forwards. Uthoff fits the bill, positionally and as a shooter who won’t hurt them (and may even help) on the defensive end.
The bottom line here is, much like VanVleet, Uthoff will be brought in as a player the Raptors organization likes. He’ll be in training camp, and presumably get a chance to be on the Raptors 905 if everyone is so inclined. The odds of him actually being the 15th man on the Raptors full-time roster seem fairly low.
Like the signing of guard Fred VanVleet on Monday, the Raptors can use training camp to see how Uthoff fits into the team’s plans. He has the size and shooting ability to provide help at the power forward spot, but could also be a player the team sends to Raptors 905 in the D-League and continue to evaluate through the season.
The former Iowa Hawkeye star went undrafted Thursday, a mild surprise after many projections had him as a mid-second round pick.
“Jarrod Uthoff has a bizarre game that almost seems hard to place in the NBA,” explained Adi Joseph, a deputy editor for the Sporting News. “Will he be able to block shots at the NBA level? And if he can’t, will he be able to defend well enough in other ways? That was the worry with him. He has the size and skills, but they don’t fit a traditional or even a modern NBA role.”
“He can knock down shots, space the floor and I think he can hang on the defensive end,” ESPN draft expert Jay Bilas had said of Uthoff earlier in the week, predicting he would be a second-round choice. “As long as he gets with the right team, I think he can be a help to somebody.”
At 6-foot-10, Uthoff is considered a stretch four, and shot 38.2 per cent from beyond the arc last season. He appeared in four games for the Sacramento Kings at the Las Vegas Summer League. He joins a Raptors squad with three power forwards under contract in Patrick Patterson, first-round pick Pascal Siakam, and recently-signed Jared Sullinger.
Sean Woodley does a solo edition of the podcast to discuss the Jared Sullinger signing, predict what Norman Powell might do with the Raptors in 2016-17 and answer a bunch of listener questions — including a Pokémon related one. This episode is brought to you by Matt Bonner.
The All-Star backcourt could have enjoyed a business-as-usual summer, filled with early morning workouts and afternoon scrimmages, but when USA Basketball called both were ecstatic to switch up their summer plans. Neither player was about to take the opportunity to represent their country at the Olympics for granted. Getting to add another experience to the things they’ve accomplished together over their five-year friendship is just another bonus.
“It means a lot,” Lowry said. “It just builds on the things we’ve done together as a unit. It means that we worked extremely hard to get to this position and we both earned it.”
For DeRozan, who saw countless teammates come in and out of the locker room through his first four seasons with the team, the stability he’s found with Lowry has been immeasurably important.
“It means everything,” DeRozan said of suiting up for Team USA alongside Lowry. “We’re playing for the Olympics. We’re playing in the Olympics for a gold medal. Two teammates…It’s a great experience when you look at it that way.”
While other players prefer to take the offseason to rest tired bodies and minds, DeRozan couldn’t imagine passing up the shot for Olympic gold. After winning a gold medal with Team USA in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, adding another to his collection would be the icing on the cake to cap off the best individual basketball year of his professional career.
“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “A lot of professionals don’t get the chance to compete for a gold medal for their country and to have two teammates do that and try to do that together is awesome.”
Today I caught up with Team USA guard DeMar DeRozan at Team USA’s pre-Olympic camp in Las Vegas. DeMar and I spoke about the squad’s preparation so far for next month’s Rio Olympics, re-signing with the Toronto Raptors, what he’s looking at taking away from the experience and bringing back to the NBA next year and more.
DeMar DeRozan’s five-year, $139 million contract to stay with the Toronto Raptors is just crazy. He will average $27.8 million a year, but his CARMELO value per year is $13.1 million. The Raptors will be paying more than $14 million per year over value for a player who is the second-best on the team. In the 2015-16 season, DeRozan led the team in scoring, with 23.5 points per game, and played well in the playoffs. But his WAR was just above 5, compared with teammate Kyle Lowry’s nearly 14.
Q: What was it like to be the DJ for the 2016 NBA all-star game and which celebrity did you enjoy meeting?
A: Performing at the NBA All Star Game was definitely a career highlight. Honestly, wow! I can’t even explain in words how amazing that was. That entire week I played huge and awesome events all over the city, and capped it all off by playing the actual game. I’m still kind of mind blown thinking back. As for celebrities, I didn’t really meet anyone that made me turn into a “fan boy” or anything, haha. But it was really cool to have so many people from all worlds of entertainment in our city at once. It was an unforgettable week.
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