Raptors sign unknown swingman Deng Adel to contract

The Raptors bring their number of contracted players to 19 with the announcement of Deng Adel’s signing to an Exhibit 10 deal.

The Toronto Raptors added another swingman to their growing collection. Deng Adel, undrafted out of Louisville, will be part of the group meeting in Vancouver later this month.

If you haven’t heard of this fellow, you’re not alone. Deng left college prior to his senior year, but didn’t get his name called in the draft. Since he had already hired an agent, a return to school was out of bounds. He spent the summer in Las Vegas, playing for Houston’s entry, where he compiled respectable, though hardly eye-popping, numbers.

Deng’s story is interesting. He is Sudanese-born, but escaped the endemic violence there with his family when he was very young. He grew up in Australia, and was introduced to basketball in his early teens. In many ways, his background is similar to fellow countryman Thon Maker.

Adel is 21 years old, and carries 200 well-proportioned pounds on a 6’7″ frame. His wingspan checks in at 6’9″ or so, which is ho-hum. Positionally, he’s viewed by some analysts as a 3- or 4-man, which seems wrong to me. Asking him to cover NBA power forwards would be a mistake. From what little video I could review on Deng’s defensive skills, I didn’t garner much confidence and suspect he’d get overwhelmed.

I’m intrigued

As a small forward, there’s a lot to like. I was pleasantly surprised to see a smooth handle; Deng’s head is up as he probes the defense. As a result, his highlight reel shows a number of pretty assists dished out after he’s drawn or beaten defenders. His shot release is quick and confident, and his vertical form is sound. Deng’s range extended past the 3-point arc, though of course it’s closer to the hoop in college ball.

Again I’m limited in what I can say about his D against small forwards. He’s probably got a distance to travel.

The chances of Adel breaking camp with the Raptors range between zero and nil. However, should he make a positive impression, there may be a home for him with the 905 guys. He is a cheap “project” player for the foreseeable future.

We have reason to be optimistic with this fellow. The 905 has proven to be fertile territory for the advancement of undervalued players’ careers. Fred VanVleet was undrafted; he become a quality point guard with hard work in the minors. Pascal Siakam spent valuable time riding the buses as well, but he and Fred are travelling in the corporate jet now.

Here’s some video. I suspect you’ll be intrigued.


I haven’t a crystal ball, but I’ll throw out a prediction anyway. At training camp, Deng Adel will impress the Raptors coaching staff sufficiently to avoid being waived, and might even see garbage-time minutes with the big team this season.