Pickup Season

We need SOMETHING to watch, right?

With the calendar turning over to August, it is officially NBA pickup season. That means, sweaty gyms, lots of one on one, way too many hesitation pull ups, and a lot of impatient hand-wringing by fans with no other NBA basketball to watch.

As has become the norm in recent years, many of the young Raptors are playing at the famous Rico Hines UCLA runs whilst in LA to work on their games. Sometimes it’s just the hometown kid, Norm Powell, others it’s Pascal Siakham doing his best Clint Capela impersonation for James Harden, but this week was the strongest contingent of Raptors players yet as Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Malachi Richardson, Chris Boucher, and the aforementioned Powell came to get a run in. Almost the entire video follows Russell Westbrook, but the five-man Raptors unit played together the whole time and had a few highlights.

It was a characteristically quiet scoring afternoon for VanVleet, whose game isn’t as ready-made for pickup as others, but he did hit stare-down three over a nonchalant Westbrook:

The summer of “I told you the trade wasn’t just to save money!” continued for Richardson supporters (although his game is perfectly suited for pickup):

Anunoby was his mid-season self, hitting multiple spot-up threes:

Boucher continued to show the flashes that earned him an exhibit 10 deal:

And Powell looked comfortable back in his college stomping grounds:

If there were any caveats to consider while evaluating summer league play—and there were plenty—they’re multiplied by a thousand for pick up (Norm played point…). I’m not going to attempt to make any arguments about “takeaways” from this video; just one Raptors junkie passing his fix onto others. Hope you enjoyed, and thanks to HomeTeamHoops for the video.