Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

Gradey Dick Is Figuring It Out

On what Gradey Dick does well and how he's more than a shooter.

The Toronto Raptors 2024 lottery pick Gradey Dick has had a pretty up and down rookie season. Early on he found it tough to become a main fixture in the rotation and spent many nights as a DNP. Lately though, Dick has found his footing in Toronto’s rotation and he has done so by being more than just a shooter. 

Dick has been good at the little things in most of his minutes this season. These “little things” include his movement off the ball, his relocation skills, his willingness to compete on the defensive end and give up his body. Although he has been doing these things most of the season things didn’t look as good as they do now because the shot was not falling. Outside shooting was a large part of why Dick was drafted by Toronto but his other skills played a factor as well.

For a rookie, and even for an NBA player, Dick is extremely adept at moving off the ball, his timing is great, he always cuts with tenacity, and he is a pretty solid finisher and he uses his height well to convert at the cup. Not only is Dick good at moving off the ball, but when he gets the ball he can maintain advantages and create a bit for himself as well. Dick is shooting 65.9 percent in the restricted area and 40 percent from three mid range area.

Here, Dick runs up as if he is going to set a screen on Scottie Barnes’ man and at the last moment he slips away from it and runs off a screen from Kelly Olynyk and then gets a great reverse finish to go.

Here, Dick runs from the corner and receives a handoff from Thaddeus Young and uses that to get downhill. Notice how he is running full speed after receiving this handoff so he can use that momentum in order to get all the way to the cup. He picks up his dribble around the free throw line and then finishes through some contact as well, showing that he’s more than just a shooter.

Here, Dick shows off some wonderful use of misdirection. Barnes is going toward him and makes the defense think it is going to be a dribble handoff, and then Dick feigns like he is going to go get the handoff by faking that direction. He then cuts backdoor after his defender moves that way, showing off some excellent timing and that frees him upon for a layup.

Here, Dick curls off an off ball screen from Bruce Brown and instead of forcing up the first look he pump fakes and then gets to the step back mid range jumper. Look at how Dick waited until the screen was in the proper place before running, which led to his defender getting hit by it.

Here, Dick lifts up from the corner to try and free himself up for a three but Hunter closes out well, after a jab step and then a pump fake which gets Hunter off his feet, Dick immediately attacks and sees Jalen Johnson in the paint for the contest which causes him to finish with his left. Crafty finish.

Here, we see how Dick’s shooting is causing defenders to close out hard to him and he leverages this attention into a drive once again. After a pump fake causes his man to bite it frees up a wide open drive for Dick, with Jaylin Williams contesting though, Dick converts a very strong reverse layup.

Here, Dick gets a pin down screen from Barnes and Sheppard takes a bad route around the screen causing him to close out erratically as he tries to recover, and Dick just drives as he is closing out and gets a nice layup to go after avoiding the help from Obi Toppin.

Here, we see some more off ball movement from Dick as he has Trae Young on him and as soon as Young takes his attention off of him he immediately cuts backdoor and gets the nice two hand finish to go.

Here, Dick runs off of staggered screens and receives a handoff from Young, when he is met with resistance from Williams he doesn’t panic and keeps his dribble alive until Williams retreats and helps gets the elbow mid range jumper to fall.

Dick has shown a natural feel and ability inside the arc during this season. His off ball movement is always well timed, always done with intention, and he has shown that he has some counters to some of what defenses can throw at him when they try and run him off the three point line. Darko Rajakovic’s system prioritizes ball movement and Dick has shown thus far that he fits very well in that system.

An area where Dick has shown a lot of effort as well is the defensive end. His basketball IQ does not stop at offense, he has shown a willingness to rotate sharply, put his body on the line, and take bumps on defense.

Here, there is a pick n roll being run on the weak side and we see Dick slide over to tag the roller which is Sengun, and then once that action is shut down he rotates back to his original man, closes out under control and forces Smith to miss the mid range shot.

Here, Dick is involved in a pick n roll action and he places himself between the ball handler and the roller very well, and he takes the bump from Middleton and forces the shot to miss. He shows a great understanding of positioning here.

Here, Dick switches onto TJ McConnell after the ball is pitched to him and then he takes a great angle to cut off McConnell and contest the mid range shot. McConnell is a quick guard so instead of following his direct path, Dick opts to take an angle to cut him off so he wouldn’t be beat off the dribble.

Dick is not afraid to put his body on the line and he does not shy away from contact when players try to take advantage of his smaller frame and bruise him he takes the full force of it.

Here, he picks up Cam Whitmore in transition and lines up his body directly in front of him and takes the full force of the bump and is able to draw a charge and get his team the ball back.

He does the same here after fighting through a screen to get directly in Norman Powell’s path and draw the charge.

Dick doesn’t always get these calls, and a lot of the time his smaller frame does work against him and he is moved out of the way against other players. But time after time, Dick does not shy away from contact, and getting pushed around by bigger players does not deter him from competing on that end. His off ball defense is much better than his on ball defense and Dick is just such a competitor on that end.

The real bread and butter of Dick’s game is his three point shooting and that has been on the uptick recently. Over his last 15 games Dick is shooting 46.6 percent from the three point line. This has brought his three point percentage up to 38.1 percent for the season and he has shown that he is a real threat from outside, like he was projected to be.

Dick can fire threes on the move, using off ball screens, spotting up, he just has a real nose for how to move along the three point and are himself up for those jumpers.

Gradey Dick is by no means a finished product or a perfect player, but the strides he has made as the season has progressed are noteworthy and bode very well for the future. At this point he should be in the starting lineup sooner than later and he will no doubt continue this progression and grow into a great player for the Raptors future.