Raps close out Summer League with quiet 80-69 win over Bucks

4 mins read

The Raptors didn’t get to play for the Summer League championship (there were rings!), so they had to settle for beating the Milwaukee Bucks in the Dewan Hernandez bowl. The Raptors sat most of their key Summer League players, including Dalano Banton, Armoni Brooks, Jeff Dowtin, David Johnson, and DJ Wilson. Justin Champagnie didn’t play either, having suffered a small fracture in his thumb earlier in Summer League.

In place of the usual cast, the Raptors started shooting forward Ryan Hawkins, who gunned up 12 triples, Ron Harper jr., who tossed up five, and Christian Vital, 10. They combined to make only six of those attempts, with the team often having to force late-clock triples after not creating much in the half court. As Adon Moss said earlier, the Summer League Raptors are still the Raptors after all. Others who haven’t seen much time in Summer League got plenty of run off the bench, including Canadian Abu Kigab, who snatched six offensive rebounds en route to a double double. Alex Barcello turned in a solid performance, looking quite competent even though the shooter only made two triples.

In a total shock (!), the Raptors won despite the Bucks shooting better from 2-point range, 3-point range, and the free throw line. They grabbed 10 more offensive rebounds and committed five fewer turnovers. So, yeah, it was more or less a standard Raptors game.

Perhaps most importantly in regards to the regular roster when the season starts, Christian Koloko turned in his most efficient game of Summer League. He shot 5-for-10 and even canned a triple in two attempts. He didn’t record any blocks or steals, but he protected the rim well, and we know he can defend at the Summer League level. He was still dominant, with the Raptors allowing only 69 points. His defense is extremely promising, but his offense needs work, so it was meaningful to see him with a good showing against Milwaukee. He even hit a turnaround jumper from the midrange, showing that he has more 2-point skill than simple tip-ins and dunks.

With Summer League wrapped up, there are some big and some small takeaways. We’ll get into the nuance to come, but mostly the real takeaway is this, and it has nothing to do with the Bucks game: Dowtin looks like a real NBA player. He was one of the Santa Cruz Warriors’ best players in the G League last year, and he bounced around the NBA, playing a handful of games in Golden State, Milwaukee, and Orlando. He looked like a far superior player with the Raptors, with a tighter handle and cleaner finishing record. I would be shocked if he doesn’t get a camp invite to at least battle for a roster spot. Toronto will have to waive someone at the back end of the roster to add a player like Dowtin, which makes it less likely he gets a spot, but he impressed in Summer League.

So the Raptors finished Los Vegas 4-1, playing very much like their Toronto counterparts. Some things never change.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.