Raptors 905 show promise and inexperience in Opening Night loss

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Oshae Brissett is helped up by fellow Raptors two-way Shamorie Ponds in the 905’s home opener.

Grand Rapids Drive 109, Raptors 905 94 | Box Score

Two-ways: Louis King, (Drive), Oshae Brissett, Shamorie Ponds (905),
Assignees: Dewan Hernandez (905)

Despite a packed house and an appearance by the Larry OB, opening night was a dud for a Raptors 905 team loaded with NBA potential. The 905 gave up a 12-0 run to go down 61- 51 to close the first half and never got within single digits from there on. The Drive shot 51.1% from the field and went 10-for-23 from three point range, allowing them to pull away in the third quarter.

Dewan Hernandez, on assignment from the Raptors, led the 905 with 24 points (9-15 FG) and 10 rebounds. Brampton, Ontario native and 2014 first round draft pick Tyler Ennis played his first regular season game since fracturing his tibia over a year ago, scoring 15 points (6-18 FG) with six assists and six turnovers. Raptors two-way players Oshae Brissett and Shamorie Ponds combined to shoot 8-for-24 with seven turnovers.

“I think our young players had moments when they were great, but also moments when they were young,” 905 Head Coach Jama Mahlalela said.

The 905 travel to Westchester to face the Knicks tonight.


  • 905 Assignment Notes
    • Dewan Hernandez – Before the game Mahlalela said the biggest area they’ve worked on with the Raptors’ second round pick is his jump shot. In the first half Hernandez made two pick-and-pop threes – great signs for the Miami product. Hernandez was overpowering at times, finishing a one handed dunk in traffic from a standstill, and clearing space for some fluid post-ups. He was also a beast on the offensive glass, grabbing five of them. 905 GM Chad Sanders mentioned on Media Day that if Hernandez isn’t getting playing time with the parent club that it’s best if he plays with the 905 to stay in game shape. Outside of his obvious talent, at 6’10 Hernandez’s height (and endless wingspan) would be very helpful to a guard-heavy 905 team without a player above 6’8. (And none of those 6’8 players naturally play interior roles.).
    • Unfortunately for Sanders and the 905, Hernandez has been called up to the Raptors in light of Serge Ibaka’s injury he suffered Friday in New Orleans.
  • 905 Affiliate Notes
    • Tyler Ennis – didn’t shoot the ball well and turned it over six times, but he did go 3-for-8 from three point range, an area many say has been Ennis’s weaknesses. “Tyler hasn’t played in about a year and it’s gonna take some time,” Mahlalela said. “We had some exhibition games (but) nothing really counts until a regular season game, and we actually logged him some real regular season minutes. We’ll see how he responds to that – that to me will be an interesting sign to see how he deals with these minutes on his body. But I think his game will start to come. BUt yes some moments of great flash and brilliance and some moments when you can tell he hasn’t played in a year.”
    • Ennis laughed when he was asked about how he felt regarding his conditioning, joking that he wasn’t at his peak cardio-wise. “Everyone talks about load management but it’s trying to balance doing that but also getting in good shape,” Ennis said. “Jama pulled me out a couple times just cause he seen I was getting winded. But I think it’s something I’ll get used to as the game goes on. It’s hard to mimic game situations and game shape. I think I was able to have some spurts in there but I definitely felt my wind and it’s something that I’ll keep working on.”
  • 905 Two-Way Notes
    • Oshae Brissett – the Toronto-native showed some impressive offensive potential, but won’t be satisfied with his performance.  On the positive side – Brissett showed a penchant for inviting contact on his drives and having the strength to finish through it, with both hands. He also hit a tough catch and shoot corner three and a pretty pull up jumper off a pick and roll. But with the 905’s offence lacking cohesion he also forced his game, going 3-for-10 on the night, which included having his shot blocked three times. Mahlalela said he isn’t worried about Brissett’s shot eventually falling, but wants to see further strides in his defensive awareness, and for him to play with greater physicality on that end. At 6’8, 205, with his combination strength and athleticism, physicality on defence could become an asset for the 21-year old.
    • Shamorie Ponds – it quickly became evident on Friday that Ponds is a flat-out scorer. Averaging around 20 points in each of his three years at St. Johns, Ponds was not shy in his 905 debut, hoisting 14 shots in 26 minutes of action. He went just 5-or-14, but with the team’s half court offence in neutral for much of the second half, he had to try to create on his own. At one point in the third quarter Ponds made two straight threes to keep the 905 within shouting distance. He also showed off some elite athleticism on a baseline drive where he out-jumped a Drive big for a layup and absorbed a significant amount of contact. It’s hard to judge Ponds on his play making skills as the offence was disjointed for much of this game.
  • Admin note:
    • Raptors Republic has a sweet discount code for Raptors 905 tickets. Follow this link and use the code RR905. https://bit.ly/2pTZgn6 . The 905’s next home game is Wednesday November 20.

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