Raptors 905 Review: Poised For Another Championship Run

(Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images) /

With over half the season in the books, the Raptors 905 are once again in prime contention for a third Finals appearance in as many seasons.

After 31 games, the Raptors 905 sit second in both the Eastern Conference and the Atlantic Division with a 19-12 record. They have broken even this 2019 with a 5-5 record after starting with a four-game losing streak.

The coaching change along with the roster turnover has altered the team’s style of play and their overall standing. Gone is the grit-and-grind style that former coach Jerry Stackhouse established. Under coach Jama Mahlalela, the 905 are now among one of the G-League’s fastest teams, sixth overall in pace.

The change in style didn’t significantly affect the team’s defensive prowess. They are sixth in defensive rating despite sharing a common ailment with their big brother team, giving up points in the paint (third-most in the G-League).

As long as the team remains sharp on defence, they will be a contender.  Home court shouldn’t matter much. In fact, the 905 are better on the road. They won the conference semifinals and finals last year as a road team. This season, they have the best road record (12-3) but are only 7-9 at home.

The 905’s success has been mostly a team effort. But a few stand out as the team’s MVP candidates.

Notable Players

Gone are the likes of Alfonso McKinnie, Bruno Caboclo, and last year’s G-League MVP, Lorenzo Brown. Thankfully, the pieces have been picked up by a deep and talented squad led by the following:

Chris Boucherthe Warriors’ loss is the Raptors’ gain; the Saint Lucian-Canadian has been a revelation for the 905 pulling in MVP-caliber averages of 27.7 points (third in the league), 11.1 rebounds (seventh), and 4.1 blocks (first).

Boucher has been the prototypical three-and-D player also hitting 2.2 threes a game (albeit at only 30.9 percent). He is built for the modern NBA and will be one of the 905’s defensive anchors.

Even though he already has an NBA Championship, leading the 905 to a G-League title would look more attractive on his résumé.

Jordan Loydthe yin to Boucher’s yang, Loyd is the 905’s leading man from the back. And while Boucher’s NBA prospects are shinier, Loyd has a stronger case as the team’s MVP. The 25-year-old carried his impressive Summer League play in to the G-League.

Loyd is averaging 23 points, 5.9 rebounds, and a team-leading 5.4 assists and two steals per contest. He is coming off a triple-double: 24 points, 17 boards, and 11 assists to lead the 905 to a 102-98 win over the Windy City Bulls.

The 25-year old also leads the team in offensive box plus-minus (5.7) and value over replacement (3.3). Most importantly, Loyd’s inspiring play fuels the team. He is the 905’s heart and soul.

Other Notables 

Kyle Collinsworth joins Boucher as one of the team’s defensive mainstays. At 6’6″, the 27-year-old plays big for his size and is second in the team in rebounds (7.6) and box plus-minus (3.2).

The 905 play six more games before the All-Star Break on the weekend of February 15 to 17. Boucher and Loyd will potentially be participating.