The Toronto Raptors have released their lineup for the Las Vegas Summer League (calling the whole thing a “League” is silly and misleading, “Tournament” is the proper descriptor), and it contains some interesting names. We will get our first look at prospects for whom we have high hopes like Brunco Caboclo, Lucas Nogueira and DeAndre Daniels. There are some retreads, like Doron Lamb, a flameout in Orlando with the Magic, and Dwight Buycks, who’s auditioning for other NBA teams as I can’t see him as a Raptor again. I trust smallish guard Myck Kabongo is not with the team as the token Canadian, but someone who at least has a legitimate shot at a D-League job. Hassan Whiteside has bounced around, but may earn a training camp invititation if he shows well, as he plays a position of need. The Raps could use some depth in the front court.
Most of these people are destined for a basketball future elsewhere than Toronto. Our roster is largely set at this point – thank you, Masai Ujiri. By my count, we have 12 players (starters are JV, TRoss, DeMar, Kyle and Amir, with Greivis, 2-Pat, Psycho-T, Chuck, Landry [gag], New Lou and Johnson redux off the bench) locked and loaded, plus the team seems bent on having Bruno and Lucas start the season as Raps. This year’s Raptors training camp won’t be a job search; there are no open seats on the big team’s bench.
With the announcement today of LeBron James‘ return to Cleveland, the Eastern Conference has dramatically changed shape. The Cavaliers have to be considered favorites, yet they are coming off a dismal season. Can LeBron really be able to find them 20 more wins, and will Andrew Wiggins become collateral damage? The Miami Heat seem likely to become very cold, particularly if Chris Bosh follows King James out the door, as seems likely. The Raptors won’t be trying to find themselves during the season’s first month or so. They will be striving for victories from Game 1. I hope some of our Summer League participants enjoy impressive minutes. They then can be tucked safely away somewhere, like Bakersfield, to be called upon should the Raps suffer with injuries.