Raptors 905 have been awarded the 2018 G-League Showcase, Raptors Republic learned this week.
The plan also calls for them to host the event in 2019 in a two-year agreement that can be re-evaluated after next year’s mini-tournament (essentially a one-year deal with a one-year mutual option). The 905 hosted the 2017 edition of the Showcase as well, turning Hershey Centre in Mississauga into a five-day basketball free-for-all. The organization impressed enough that rather than rotate cities or take it back to the west coast, the G-League has opted to make the GTA a more permanent home for its biggest annual event, at least for the near-term.
The Showcase is an annual in-season tournament that takes place right around when NBA teams are able to give players 10-day contracts (January 5 each year), providing an opportunity for the top G-Leaguers to show their stuff in front of a heavy scouting presence. It also helps get the wheels moving a month out from the NBA trade deadline, with plenty of scouts and executives on hand for a mini-summit of sorts. Every G-League team participates and gets two games each, though no actual champion is crowned any longer. The 905 went 2-0 as the hosts last year, becoming the second consecutive team to “win” the showcase before winning the league championship, and two of their players received call-ups from NBA teams in the weeks and months that followed.
Prior to last year, five consecutive showcases had taken place in California or Nevada and included just a single court. The aim with the change last year was to increase the presence of the tournament and bring it to an even larger market, and the fact that Hershey Centre has the potential to add a second court is an important consideration as the G-League continues to expand.
“I think those guys did a great job organizing,” president Masai Ujiri said of last year’s event. “I think it was good for the league to get away and come to Toronto, they like the city, and for us it’s preparing and organizing. It means a lot to us. Any time you can host the league in some kind of way it does mean a lot.”
This is yet another nice nod to what the entire Raptors’ organization has been building as they continue to establish themselves as one of the league’s top franchises off the court.