1. Through two games, the unfortunate impression is that the Toronto Raptors have less talent as compared to the competition. They feature one first-round pick, a pair of undrafted two-way players, and a collection of fringe NBA hopefuls. While pedigree doesn’t necessarily define quality, their play also did nothing to show otherwise. It doesn’t help that the execution and discipline are also lacking: The Raptors hacked Isaiah Mobley like he was Shaquille O’Neal in the paint, and Toronto’s shooters forced contested jumpers and airballed wide open tries. Thankfully, Summer League games are entirely inconsequential to the games that count, but it’s disappointing to see the Raptors’ roster be so empty as compared to the competition.
The tipping point for Schröder as he shopped for a new home in free agency was the presence in Toronto of new Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic. The two have a relationship and friendship that goes back years.
“He was my workout coach when I (went) from Atlanta to OKC (in 2018); we grabbed dinner on the first night with my wife,” Schröder said. “He’s European, the Europeans handle things a little bit different than American guys. I’m used to that, he knows who I am and I know who he is and I think that goes a long way.
“And, of course, you need always a great relationship with the coach, especially as a point guard.”
Schröder also figures his willingness to get on teammates if necessary mirrors Rajakovic’s style.
“I think that’s how Darko operates as well, that’s another reason why I signed with the Toronto Raptors because I know there’s no bulls— with him,” Schröder said. “It’s always straight up, he’s going to tell me if it’s good or if it’s bad.”
Jevohn Shepherd joins SC with Jay Onrait to discuss what Gradey Dick has shown the Raptors in the NBA Summer League, whether he sees Markquis Nowell making Toronto’s opening day roster, and how he sees new signing Dennis Schroder fitting in on the team.
What’s clear, though, is the Toronto Raptors wanted Fred VanVleet back for next season. By all accounts, Toronto met with VanVleet when free agency officially opened at 6 p.m. ET on June 30. At that point, it was becoming clear that an offer from the Houston Rockets was going to be tough to stave off.
At 8:43 p.m. ET, ESPN broke the news that VanVleet was leaving Toronto. Within an hour, the Raptors had pivoted, signing Dennis Schröder to a two-year, $26 million deal with the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception, as ESPN reported.
Schröder’s story of the events is somewhat different, but the points are mostly the same.
Once VanVleet signed with Houston, Schröder said he got a call on the second day of free agency from new Raptors Darko Rajaković who laid out the plan for Schröder should he elect to join Toronto. The Los Angeles Lakers had been interested in re-signing Schröder, the 29-year-old point guard said, though they pivoted and inked Gabe Vincent to a similar contract prior to Schröder joining the Raptors
“I know how he operates,” Schröder said of Rajaković during his introductory press conference Wednesday via Zoom. “He’s a great guy. European. … He told me what his plans are and what he’s trying to accomplish. That was perfect for me and for my family.”
Schröder joins the Raptors with the expectation that he’ll be the starting point guard for the team next season. While he’s willing to accept whatever role he’s given, he and Rajaković have already discussed using him in the starting lineup and he said that’s his goal, “to lead the team.”
He’ll have big shoes to fill following VanVleet’s departure. While Toronto’s former point guard didn’t quite have a career year, he still averaged nearly 20 points as a high-volume three-point shooter with a career-high 7.2 assists per game. Schröder, conversely, sat at 12.6 points and 4.5 assists per game with a 32.9% three-point stroke as a low-volume shooter.
The Canadian U23 Men opened GLOBL Jam with an 88-62 victory over Africa’s BAL Select at Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto on Tuesday.
Elijah Mahi led Canada with 17 points and six rebounds while Thomas Kennedy added 15 points, five rebounds and three assists and Aiden Warnholtz led the team with seven assists as the Canadians overcame a slow start and a close opening quarter that saw BAL Select hold a 21-19 lead after the opening 10 minutes.
“Coach came into the locker room just now and said you don’t beat a team in just one quarter,” Kennedy said. “That was a really positive outcome from the first quarter. We could have gotten down on ourselves, because we were trailing there, but we didn’t. We found the margin that we wanted and kept our foot on the gas pedal and built that margin for 40 minutes.”