A 6-9 sharpshooting power forward who starred at Wisconsin? Sign me up! Well, not so fast. The Raptors took a flyer on Dekker after two years overseas, but the 27-year-old isn’t without red flags. Plus, his 28.8% career mark from long range puts that ‘sharp-shooter label in doubt.
Still, his pedigree as a former first-rounder with exactly 200 games of NBA experience might count for something.
Best Case Scenario
Of all the hopefuls listed here, Dekker is the only one with the potential to offer a dimension that the Raptors seem to be sorely lacking. Shooting, of course, comes at a premium in the NBA and top free agent shooters got paid ($72 million for Tim Hardaway Jr.?), so grabbing a perimeter threat with good size for under $2 million could pay off nicely.
Dekker’s last NBA stint didn’t inspire much cause for confidence in his abilities, so the Raptors brass was likely buoyed by his performance overseas. Playing for Turk Telecom in the Turkish league last season, he averaged 15.4 points while shooting 45.2% from beyond the arc.
While the lesser competition was surely a factor, it can’t be ruled out that Dekker simply needed more time.
In the interest of roster balance, club brass may well be secretly rooting for the Badgers alum to make the opening night roster. It isn’t insignificant that Dekker is the only first-round pick among the group.
Did Toronto Raptors forward Sam Dekker improve his shot?
Worst Case Scenario
Fairly or unfairly, the added baggage of possible negative media attention makes the gamble on Dekker that much bigger. If he doesn’t make the team, not only is the club parting with a bench potential shooter, but there will be some who won’t quickly forget the organization’s willingness to embrace him.
On the court, we also saw that Dekker was a limited athlete who couldn’t create his own shot. What happens if his production in Europe is uncovered as fool’s gold that was aided by playing against substandard
In the case of most of these players, failing to make the roster won’t carry a much greater cost to the team than a missed opportunity and a small chunk of change out of MLSE’s pocket. In the case of Dekker, locker room cohesion and potential wrench being thrown into the back end of the rotation also hang in the balance.