As the Toronto Raptors try to figure out which non-guaranteed players should make the final roster, the likes of Sam Dekker are doing everything they can to stick in the NBA. During Toronto’s preseason finale against the Washington Wizards, Dekker put together one of the most sensational shooting performances you’ll see in the preseason.
Despite only getting heavy minutes at the end of the third quarter and the entirety of the fourth quarter, Dekker managed to score 18 points on 7-10 shooting and 4-5 from 3-point range. The former Wisconsin star and first-round pick teamed with Malachi Flynn to give Toronto a late lead they would not relinquish.
With Yuta Watanabe guaranteed a roster spot and the decision to waive Freddie Gillespie and Reggie Perry, Dekker is competing with Ishmail Wainright and Isaac Bonga for a role with the Raptors. Of those three players, two of them will likely make the final roster.
Sure, Dekker didn’t make a ton of impactful plays in the preseason, but did he show the Raptors enough during that final game to warrant them taking a longer look at him? Did he do enough to make the opening night roster?
Will Sam Dekker make the Toronto Raptors?
All three of the remaining non-guarantees have specific roles they are capable of filling. Bonga is a perimeter defender and ball-handler, while Wainright is a muscular post presence that can defend multiple spots. Dekker is a shooter, as he had made massive strides in that area.
After making just 29% of his 3-pointers in the NBA and washing out of the league, the former first-round pick went to Turkey, where he made 45% of his 3-pointers and scored 15.4 points per game in Turkish Super League play. A 56% shooting clip in the preseason further backs up what he did overseas.
Ultimately, deciding to keep Dekker will come down to how much shooting Nurse feels Toronto has at the moment. If players like Bonga and Wainright are viewed as redundant, No. 8 should slide right onto the roster as the 15th man.
If Nurse believes that those two are more conducive to this position style that he wants to implement, Dekker might be axed despite his scoring chops.
On one hand, Dekker only had one really exceptional half of basketball in the preseason. Is it really fair, or wise from a roster-building point of view, to keep him over someone who has potentially shown more in camp and the full preseason schedule?
By the same token, Dekker had the most impressive half of any of the non-guaranteed players. Would it be sensible to cut him after such a show-stopping performance?
While it remains unclear if Sam Dekker will make the final roster, it might be hard for Nurse to part with him considering the show he put on against Washington.