The Toronto Raptors’ second-round draft pick, DeAndre Daniels, is packing his bags. According to a report, our man is going to join the Perth Wildcats in far-off Australia. I suppose that’s a positive in terms of his floor time, as I’m assuming the Down Under league is an approximation of the NBA Development League. In other words, he’ll get a ton of burn, which he wouldn’t get with the big team.
What’s of greater interest to me, and hopefully to you, is what DeAndre’s absence means to the Raps’ roster. The team has 15 players under contract, so the short answer is “not much”. In earlier years, the Raps like to invite a boatload of wannabes to camp, then chop away the pretenders. Even as late as pre-season games, we’d be seeing no-hopers wearing our colours. Jamario Moon famously made the team during Sam Mitchell’s tenure from a cattle call tryout event, but those days are past. I don’t think looking at longshots suits Dwane Casey’s taste. In his view, it’s training camp, limited to those who’ve already made the team. I’m fine with that – too many times I’d attend regular-season games featuring one or more unknowns signed to a 10-day contract and given significant minutes. The result was predictable.
I’m OK with Daniels getting lots of professional minutes elsewhere; that’s sensible roster management. However, I’m not comfortable with our last signee, guard Will Cherry. I thought we’d keep Julyan Stone as an oversized defensive minded guard on the perimeter. Instead we dump Stone, and bring on board Kyle Lowry’s twin. Where’s the gain? I didn’t see enough of Stone to decide whether he’s a keeper, but at least I understood why he was on the squad. Cherry’s presence is a mystery to me. What minutes are available for a tiny third-string point guard?
“In Masai we trust” is a sound motto. Our GM hasn’t made many missteps so far in his tenure. This commentator is willing to set aside the grumbling until we see Cherry strut his stuff. If he impresses me, I promise to apologize for ever doubting our Fearless Leader.
OK, Rapture Nation, anyone got any thoughts to share on Will Cherry?