Before the game, I asked Darko Rajakovic if there might be an opportunity for Gradey Dick to play a big role in the upcoming game; and cited the 76ers lack of players to punish him off-ball or in isolation, and Dick's obvious chops on offense. The answer: "We'll see after the game."
Boy, did we ever. Not only was Dick a clear option (at least in my mind) to trot out against the 76ers, but with O.G. Anunoby leaving the lineup as a late scratch a whole bunch of minutes suddenly became available. He was second off the bench for the Raptors to start the game, only coming in behind Precious Achiuwa who was an early spell for Jakob Poeltl. He'd go on to play nearly 30 minutes, tallying 16 points, canning triple after triple, and closing the game. He was sublime.
Of course it's a special thing -- I mean, it's just another three in my career -- but, to say that, that was my first point in an NBA game is something special. A dream come true that I've had since I was a little kid when I first started playing basketball. I can't wait to go talk to my brothers, my sister and my parents about it.
Gradey Dick on his first NBA basket
Dick's first NBA basket was the most straightforward nod to his most elite skill. Malachi Flynn is trying to run a pick n' roll with Achiuwa, De'Anthony Melton steps in off of Dick (who is one pass away) and the read is what it should be for the whole of Dick's forthcoming career: pass the ball to Gradey when he's open. It's extremely important that the Raptors can put him on the floor, because they really don't have a lot of shooters who can do it off of a series of screens, off of movement, or finding their own rhythm with quick, short passes hitting them.