At 6 PM ET tonight, the Toronto Raptors take on the Houston Rockets in Las Vegas. Summer League allows teams to evaluate their young talent, veteran journeymen and players overlooked in the past. This year's roster contains a bit of everything. Check it out:
0 Bobby Brown, G 6-2 175 9/24/1984 (Cal-State Fullerton)
2 Terrell Stoglin, G 6-1 185 11/10/1991 (Maryland)
4 Quincy Acy, F 6-8 225 10/6/1990 (Baylor)
8 Devoe Joseph, G 6-4 180 6/21/1989 (Oregon)
18 Ben Uzoh, G 6-3 205 3/18/1988 (Tulsa)
21 Trent Plaisted, F-C 6-11 220 10/20/1986 (BYU/USA Aliaga)
25 Rodney Carney, F 6-7 205 4/5/1984 (Memphis State)
31 Terrence Ross, G 6-7 197 2/5/1991 (Washington)
32 Ed Davis, F 6-10 225 6/5/1989 (North Carolina)
33 Daniel Orton, C 6-10 255 8/6/1990 (Kentucky)
This roster is very interesting for a number of reasons. Right off of the bat, you have the rookies, Ross and Acy. Most fans have been judging these two by Youtube mixes and word of mouth, so it'll be nice to see what they're made of. Ross' scoring ability should be on full display this week. Expect a TON of threes and a few dunks. Acy will likely be a garbage man that hustles for offensive boards and blocks shots. I'm eager to see his ability in the post. Does he have any semblance of a post game?
Also of note is the return of Ed Davis. In years past, Ed has had to defer to players like DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems in Summer League play. This year, he's the main guy. The Raptors brass have been adamant that Davis is a new player. They said he's more focused, more skilled, bigger, and should essentially dominate over the next week. Is he a quality 4? His first two years have been incredibly inconsistent. The Raptors seem convinced that he's still quite the stud, and claim to have invested a ton of time in his development this summer. Things to watch for? His jumper. Let's see if the Raptors have actually rebuilt his form like they said they would.
Ben Uzoh is almost certain to make the Raptors' regular season roster barring an explosion by Stoglin or Summer League vet Bobby Brown. Casey and the coaching staff love Uzoh, and believe his steady play last season is just the beginning of what he can do in the future. Brown has been on the Raptors' Summer League team for what feels like forever, and in all honesty I'm not sure why they keep bringing him back. Sure, he's friends with DeMar, Sonny, and Davis. But if you're bringing someone in to suck up to your players? That's not a good look.
One of the most intriguing players on this squad is Rodney Carney. Carney is your prototypical athletic freak, with unlimited potential that he just never seemed to reach. I wouldn't be shocked if he made the regular season team as the third string wing man. He's a decent defender on his athleticism alone, he's incredibly quick, and can hit the three with consistency. Expect a lot of head scratching with Carney, though. He's that J.R. Smith/Gerald Green type of player.
Devoe Joseph was an interesting addition to this roster. I always like it when teams give a local guy a chance, and the Raptors have finally brought someone in with actual talent. Joseph's college career was shaky to say the least. He wasn't able to showcase his abilities the way he'd have liked, and his rumoured maturity issues certainly didn't help his draft stock during the draft. However, he's a very talented player, and should attract a bunch of Canadian basketball fans.
I'm not sure why the Raptors decided to give Daniel Orton a chance. He's a bruiser with few skills. Even when Dwight Howard went down in Orlando, Orton didn't see much playing time because, quite frankly, he's just not very good. He's also a bit of a knucklehead, something that the Raptors have been trying to distance themselves from. There's almost no chance Orton makes the team, with a very deep rotation between the 4 and the 5 with Bargnani, Johnson, Davis, Valanciunas, and Gray.
The Raptors probably won't finish Summer League with a very good record, but they should be a fun bunch to watch. The plethora of athletic shooters and undersized hustle players speaks to the types of players the Raptors are looking for to fill out their roster. If I had to guess, I'd say Uzoh is a lock, and Carney has a bit of a chance. Time will tell though.
How do you guys think the Raptors' Summer League team will do?