Raptors905

Pelicans sign Axel Toupane, dent 905 championship hopes

Photo by MattAzevedo.com

It’s amazing what a franchise-record 41-point outing in a D-League playoff game can do for you.

After leading the Raptors 905 to the team’s first playoff game victory, Axel Toupane has been rewarded with a contract from the New Orleans Pelicans. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it’s well deserved reward nonetheless for a standout player for the 905 over the past two seasons.

Toupane was spectacular against the Canton Charge on Wednesday night, scoring in every which way. His customary drives to the rim left defenders with no choice but to foul, earning him 14 trips to the line. If you haven’t watched him, he has a brilliant euro step, perfectly accelerating and decelerating based on the defender’s momentum. He had his three-point stroke going too, making four of his nine 3-point attempts.

He’s not just a scorer either. At 6’7″, 210lbs., Toupane is the 905’s best perimeter defender as well, and drew the toughest defensive matchup in game one.

Starting only 13 games, he has mostly been a super-sub for the 905 this season. Despite that, Stackhouse turned to Toupane to start, and he more than delivered for his team, and now himself. He was called up by the Milwaukee Bucks in late February, but should have more of a chance to impress at the wing spot in New Orleans.

Over 36 regular season games, Toupane averaged 16.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.1 steals. He leaves a gaping void for the 905 to fill, beginning tonight where they can clinch a spot in the second round with a win. With Will Sheehey and Toupane both now missing for the 905, the Mississauga club’s depth at the off-guard and small forward spots will be tested.

Despite how much this could hurt the team’s chances at winning the D-League championship, this was the intended purpose of creating this franchise. Development is at the forefront, and Toupane has left an enviable path to follow.

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