Bonga has three years and 128 games of NBA experience (including 57 starts), yet incredibly is one day younger than Raptors rookie second-rounder Dalano Banton. Though not much of an offensive threat, Bonga fits the club’s criteria as a long, versatile forward who can defend multiple positions.
Best Case Scenario
A “younger Stanley Johnson” might not seem like the strongest of praise, but Toronto will always have time for a hard worker who can defend multiple positions. Let’s not forget that Johnson enjoyed one or two standout moments as a key wing stopper at times last season.
While no player comparison is perfect, that’s essentially what Bonga brings to the table: a steady, versatile depth defender who could offer value on crunch time defensive assignments if needed, albeit with more of a focus on defending the perimeter than Johnson.
Though not a high volume three-point shooter, it certainly wouldn’t hurt if the former Laker and Wizard returned to 2019-20 levels (35.2%) from long range as opposed to last season’s mark (27.7%).
At 21, there’s still plenty of room to grow. Now, that growth could come within an organization known for elite development where his skill set fits perfectly and is highly valued.
Isaac Bonga could help the Toronto Raptors as a defender.
Worst Case Scenario
To be blunt, the Bonga of 2020-21 was not an NBA-caliber player. Washington, who would ultimately reach the playoffs thanks to a late surge, went 1-7 in games he started and 2-12 when he played 15 minutes or more.
His scoring, rebounding, and assist numbers predictably dipped in line with decreased minutes, but so did his shooting, player efficiency rating, and win shares.
It’s easy to get excited about a player who is, alternately, the second-youngest roster hopeful while also having the second-most NBA experience.
Bonga will need to put last season behind him, showing that it’s a blip on a still-ascending career development arc. If he doesn’t, the club may wind up rather thin on the wing and Bonga could be out of the league.