The Raptors 905 have had a tumultuous few months. Coinciding with Jonas Valanciunas’ injury, Chris Boucher began spending much more time with the parent club, if not actually in the games. Partially as a result, the 905 began losing games. After opening the season 12-3, the 905 have since limped to a 4-8 record. Availability of the top end of the roster, including Boucher, fellow two-way Jordan Loyd, and assigned Raptor Malachi Richardson, has been very important to the 905’s success. Equally important has been the revelation that the rest of the roster has been unable to win on its own.
To that end, general manager Chad Sanders has reshaped the roster.
On December 20, the 905 waived Uche Ofoegbu to open up a roster spot. They then traded for MiKyle McIntosh from the Wisconsin Herd. He is a traditional forward who can bang in the paint and clean the glass, but he also has some range. His shooting hasn’t come around for the 905, and he’s since been sidelined by injury.
On January 5, the 905 traded away Roger Moute A Bidias for a third-round draft pick. To fill his spot, they signed Jordan Howard. Howard is an undersized point guard with a smooth shooting stroke and some passing chops in the pick-and-roll. Howard is undersized on defence but tries hard. On offence, he can create well out of the midrange for himself. His catch-and-shooting prowess is a thing of beauty.
On January 14, the Cleveland Cavaliers cruelly signed Deng Adel to one of their two-way spots. Adel projects as a 3/4 who can shoot from deep, handle in space, and defend multiple positions. His dribbling and shooting has been suspect this year, but he’s only 21, and he will improve. He was the 905’s top asset not under two-way contract, so it makes sense that another team took a flier on the young wing.
In response to the loss of Adel, on January 15, Sanders traded center Khadeem Lattin and the rights to Yanick Moriera to the Northern Arizona Suns for Derek Cooke Jr. Lattin was a strong defensive big man, but his inability on offence hurt the 905 deeply. Cooke isn’t a world beater, but he is an improvement. He offers slightly more size than Lattin and is a much improved rebounder. He has already averaged 9.5 rebounds in only 24 minutes per game.
On January 20, the 905 signed a new point guard out of the Chinese Basketball Association, Josh Adams. At 6-foot-2, he is a score-first guard, with more size than Howard. He has shot in the high 30s from deep since his final year in college, at Wyoming. He has bounced around pro leagues in Russia, Turkey, and China, but this will be his first stint in the G-League.
More change is coming. Sharpshooter Malcolm Miller is almost healthy, and he will offer scoring on the wing that the the 905 don’t currently possess. He scored 12.6 points per game last year for the 905 while shooting 37.9 percent from deep.
So what do the 905 now have? They have more size in the paint, with more skill to accompany it. Cooke Jr. and McIntosh are big, defence-first rebounders. Both offer potential options to bang with opposing teams bigs if they want to save Boucher from the physicality for stretches of a game. Adams and Howard are both sweet shooters, and shooting has been a weakness for the 905 this entire season. Miller is an NBA-level wing who can slot in as a third or fourth scoring option for the team, depending on whether Richardson is available.
Most importantly, they still have Boucher and Loyd on two-way contracts. Adel is a big loss, especially moving forward, but his performance this season hasn’t been consistent. The 905 have the top end talent to compete with any G-League team, and now they seem to have the depth to match. They are winners of two in a row, and they next play on Monday January 21 at Long Island.