Gradey Dick is parallel parking into his NBA spot

A different approach, but the same spot.

Relative to his draft stock, no other player came out of the NBA draft with bigger buzz than Gradey Dick. Followed on Instagram by Drake, stunning in sequin, and powered by two factions of fans: those that love his game, and those that love his name. The Raptors were ready to bring some talented youth into the roster. The fanbase and organization welcomed him with open arms.

The add seemed simple. Over the past 3 years, the Raptors have been one of the worst shooting teams in the whole of the NBA, so they select a player who is considered the best shooter in the draft by many, and one of the best shooters to come out of the draft in the past few years. Only, he shot 5-22 from downtown across his 3 summer league games. The big selling point of his game didn't initially pop.

"A lot of guys are gonna see me as a shooter, which I am."

- Gradey Dick

I spent a good amount of summer league talking to scouts around the league, asking for thoughts on Gradey's slow shooting start and underwhelming box scores. The thing that kept coming up: how great his movement off-ball is on both sides of the floor. The people I had talked to watched him through high school, college, all the way to Vegas, and no one mentioned cause for concern about the jumpshot.

A few scouts labeled him one of the steals of the draft, waving away the shooting concerns and highlighting the lightning quick reads of the floor. The Raptors newest, large wing player was getting up and down on both ends to fill lanes, playmake a little bit in transition, hunt for the Kyle Lowry-style steal of swiping at bigs who just corralled a rebound, and grabbing a ton of rebounds himself - a hair over 6 a game. That motor was something he said he wanted to work on with the bigger NBA floor, having cited the relentless work that the best shooters provide while sprinting around it in the past.

"The first game, right off of tip-off, going up and down was what kind of hit first. But, after that it just kind of feels like basketball. The court, it's kind of underrated. People don't understand how coming from a high school and college court, then coming here, there's a lot more space." Gradey said to me in Vegas. "But, I like having that for my game and what it opens up. In college you beat a defender, you get past, it's everyone coming in and playing team defense, so, just being able to do that and the conditioning to do that is important and something I'm still working on."

Not that ".5 basketball" is Darko Rajakovic's intellectual property - you could even hear Jarrett Jack yelling "POINT FIVE" to his players during the Raps-Pistons game - but he is a proponent of leveraging quick decision making into advantages that have long been created with on-ball skill. At times, Gradey struggled with off-ball physicality to get open and on-ball, but when the ball found his hands be it on a cut, off a rebound, or just while spacing out he made a lot of tremendous reads.