Wieskamp profiles as Raptors three point savior in 905 win over Capital City

A brilliant opening act on his 10-day contract

Raptors 905 122, Capital City Go-Go 119 Box Score

On Assignment: Dalano Banton, Joe Wieskamp
Two-ways: Jeff Dowtin Jr., Ron Harper Jr.

“The Raptors just said they had a game not too far away and asked if I want to come play, just (to) get some run in. I was like sure, sign me up!”

Six-foot-six sharp shooter Joe Wieskamp signed a 10-day contract with the Raptors on Friday and made the trek west to Mississauga for some extended G League burn on Monday. Wieskamp, who shot 41.6% from three point range in three seasons at Iowa, went four-for-six from deep on Monday, adding seven rebounds, and a gritty and-1 at the basket through contact.

“Yeah I think that might have been a one and done for us,” 905 Head Coach Eric Khoury said with a smile. “Joe was awesome. He was a force on the glass. He led our team in rebounding. He was going after every ball. He’s got a nose for the ball. He picked up our defensive schemes right away. Heck of a player.”

Unlike any current Raptor, Wieskamp appears (it’s one G League game) able to hit catch-and-shoot threes on the move, exemplified by the JJ Redick-esque bomb from the top of the key where he was curling at full speed before catching and immediately firing. Plus, his ability to drive when his man trails him on screens appears to make him a more enticing version of prior Raptors specialists like Matt Thomas.

“Three point shooting’s the reason I’m here,” Wieskamp said. “So I’m just going to continue to do that. Try to do it at a high level. Knock down shots when I’m open but also be able to make tough ones because they know I can shoot, so they’re gonna be up into my space and force me to make some tough ones. Also just use my length and athleticism to rebound.” 

Player breakdowns

Dalano Banton – 29 points (3-7 3FG), seven rebounds, two assists

The Raptors want Banton to be an engine that provides pace when he’s with the big club. On Monday, he stunned the home crowd with that burst early in the third quarter:

What Banton hasn’t shown much of at the NBA level is half-court orchestration. That’s not necessarily all on him since he’s only averaged 10 minutes a game and hasn’t been assigned primary ball handling duties with the big club. But when he’s with the 905 Banton does everything offensively. On Monday, he only had two assists, but he hit three three-balls, two of which came late in the fourth quarter when the score was tight.

“He’s such a talented player, both in half court but especially in transition,” Khoury said. “He injects pace into the game and he brings everybody along for the ride. It’s something that’s translatable to any league he’s gonna play in.”

Defensively, Banton worked hard to contain Capital City’s speedy backcourt. The Go Go still scored 82 points in the paint, mostly off that perimeter creation.

Banton may have a “quad-A” conundrum – dominant as the lead guy in the G League (25.4 PTS, 7.8 REB, 2.8 AST), but so far unable to find his niche in the NBA. With his contract expiring at the end of the season you’d imagine there’s some urgency, and less consolation, from another great performance when it came in his third straight game with the “minor league team”.

“It’s definitely a challenge,” Khoury said before tipoff. “It’s tricky for a guy like Dalano because he can come to 905 and play one style of play and dominate the game. But that’s not necessarily a style of play that will get him more minutes with the Raptors. He has to find the right balance of impacting winning here while showing how he can impact winning at the next level. We had a nice long conversation about that and I think he understands. He’s a heck of a player, even as a rookie, he contributed to winning for the Raptors many times. He had some great energetic spurts so we gotta get him back to that point. Hopefully he can use 905 to get his legs going and to show the Raptors how he can contribute to winning at the next level.”

Saben Lee – 12 points (3-6 3FG), eight assists, five steals, five turnovers

Not the gaudiest stat line but the former Detroit Piston was crucial in involving others when Banton wasn’t controlling the flow. Lee played the first seven games of the season with the 905, spent a month on a two-way contract with the 76ers before getting waived, and has since returned to the 905 with aplomb. On Monday, Lee led a basically new second unit (Hassani Gravett, Kylor Kelley, Wieskamp, and Ron Harper Jr.) in the second quarter and helped increase the 905’s lead from three to eight. Lee assisted on five pointers and grabbed two steals during this nearly six-minute stretch. Lee’s ability to get to the second level and spray out to his teammates is his biggest NBA skill, and it was exemplified in this sneaky-tenuous part of the game.

Conversely, since Lee was a junior in high school the knock on him has been his jumper. On Monday the Go Go were playing Lee like NBA teams are currently playing Scottie Barnes – going under every screen, daring him to shoot. Lee missed his first two three pointers, but drilled two big ones in the fourth when the defence sagged off.

“It’s not tough for me,” Lee said of what seems like a mental game when the other team appears to want you to shoot. “I feel like an open shot’s even better. I don’t really know why you would do that. You could see it kind of hurt them tonight, especially in the fourth. I feel like it’s just easier for me to just line it up with them giving me space.”

The 905 look to sweep their back to back with Capital City tonight at 7:30 eastern.

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