Toronto Raptors 905 Update: Dewan Hernandez struggling to develop

Toronto Raptors 905 - Dewan Hernandez (Photo by Robert Frank/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors 905 - Dewan Hernandez (Photo by Robert Frank/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors lone draft pick, Dewan Hernandez, has spent almost all of his time with the Raptors 905 this season. How is his development coming along?

It’s important to remember that late second-round picks rarely work out. Yes, Masai Ujiri is a wizard, and yes, the Toronto Raptors have a great development team. Still, no team has a great success record picking in the late second round. And while the Raptors have found success in undrafted free agents, they’ve also missed on quite a few names as well: Jordan Loyd, Nigel HayesAlfonzo McKinnie. We only tend to remember the hits, because even a 30-percent hit rate on these type of prospects is very impressive.

All of this to say, the odds are stacked against Dewan Hernandez. The numbers say he probably won’t be a productive NBA player. Hernandez is trying to become the exception, not the rule. So far, it’s been a rocky start for the Miami Hurricane big man.

Defensive impact

Let’s start with the good (or better). Defensively, Hernandez has shown flashes. When he recognizes the play, he has good quickness stepping over, and he has solid enough instincts going after shots. He’s averaging an impressive 2.5 blocks per game, the highest figure on the team.

And yet, in between those flashes are some dark moments. Hernandez is often out of position, late on a rotation, or getting bullied under the basket by a stronger defender. Many of these traits are a result of youth and will improve as he gains more experience at the professional level.

But right now, he has a LONG way to go. And due to his offensive limitations, if he wants to be an NBA-quality player, his defense can’t be just adequate. It will need to be his calling card.

Offensive impact

If it weren’t for the team’s invested draft capital, Dewan Hernandez would be unplayable offensively. He’s averaging 13.4 points per game, which is fine. However, his efficiency is appalling.

Despite spending the majority of his time at center, he has the lowest 2-point field goal percentage (47%) on the team (min 4 games played). He’s shooting just 15% from 3-point range, also the lowest figure on the team (min 4 games played). And he’s getting to the line under 2 times per game and shooting below 60% when he does get there. If his shooting wasn’t destructive enough, he ranks first among big men (5th overall) in turnovers per 36 minutes.

Hernandez doesn’t have any real skillset on offense at the moment. He’s not a post-up threat, he’s not an athletic rim-runner, and he’s clearly not a shooter. He doesn’t need to develop every area of his offensive game, but he does need to find one distinct skill he can bring to the court.

Future outlook

Hernandez has appeared in just nine games with the 905 and has been called up to the Toronto Raptors several times to sit the bench. Hopefully, as the big league team gets healthier, Hernandez can spend more time developing his skills at the G-League level.

You can’t judge anyone off nine games, particularly a 23-year-old who sat out last season due to an NCAA violation.

But what we’ve seen so far is still a data point in the larger picture of who Dewan Hernandez is as a player. Defensively, Hernandez still has a lot to clean up, particularly if he wants to be a center at the NBA-level. Offensively, he’ll need to totally revamp his game. The jumper was expected to take some time, but his struggles within the arc are a concern. If he can’t score against G-Leaguers, he has miles to go before he can get buckets against real NBA talent.

dark. Next. Raptors should look into signing Jeff Green

Hernandez still has plenty of time to improve and what we’ve seen so far isn’t the be-all-end-all. However, it’s clear he has a long way to go. Hernandez has struggled professionally so far.