In order to finish our series on the Toronto Raptors’ roster for the upcoming season, I’m going to offer what little I know about four new players who will be at training camp.
Let’s start with Dwight Buycks, who at least has a contract. Buycks (pronounced “Bikes”) is a 6’3″ 190 lbs. point guard, who left Marquette in 2011 hoping to be drafted but was disappointed. He’s since played in France, and in the D-League. At 24 years of age, he’s ancient to be trying to grab his first roster spot in the NBA, but the Raps clearly liked what they saw of him in Vegas at Summer League.
Julyan Stone we’ve written about before. Supposedly he had signed a contract in June, but something went south (a failed physical?). Now all he’s got is a camp invitation. To repeat this summer’s data, Stone is a 6’7″ 200 lbs. point guard out of UTEP. He’s had cups of coffee with the Denver Nuggets, but couldn’t stick as a defensive specialist. He’s the same age as Buycks, and his stats aren’t worth repeating, as they are derived from a tiny sample size.
Chris Wright comes to camp as the only forward hopeful. He has one NBA season under his belt; in ’11-’12 he appeared in 24 games with Golden State. Wright is 6’9″ and 226 lbs., with a reputation as a leaper. It’s hard to see where he might fit; if he shows versatility, he might slip onto the roster as a ‘tweener, able to back up at power forward or centre.
The most intriguing player of all is shooting guard Carlos Morais, the first Angolan in the NBA. He is 27 years old, and an African professional and Olympic veteran. Is Morais the first of many African players Raps GM Masai Ujiri, a born-and-raised Nigerian, will be able to sign and bring to Toronto? Listed at 6’4″ and 200 lbs., he may be a touch small for the 2-guard spot, but I’m eager to see him play. He was the MVP of 2013 Afrobasket, leading Angola to the championship. The NBA is a big stage, but he appears used to those.
I’m having difficulty envisioning any of the local guys pressing the incumbents for a roster spot. Morais could stick, but I’ll have a better sense of that after seeing a pre-season game or two.
One final thought: are the Raps preparing for Life After Kyle? While I can’t see D.J. Augustin pushing Lowry out of the picture, it’s possible the Raps might view a Point Guard By Committee approach as feasible. Buycks and Stone are points, and Morais may be able to move there. Training camp is going to be interesting after all.
Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.
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