Will the Toronto Raptors regret waiving Ishmail Wainright?

The Toronto Raptors had two open roster spots left before they solidified their opening day configuration, meaning that three non-guaranteed players Ishmail Wainright, Isaac Bonga, and Sam Dekker were vying for those two openings. Nick Nurse took his time coming to a decision, but his move was not what the Ugandan national team player wanted to hear.

Wainright was waived on Saturday night despite a strong preseason and Summer League showing in which he looked like the type of positionless defender that the Raptors have been looking for. Ultimately, Nick Nurse decided that the perimeter needed more work than a surprisingly deep frontcourt.

Bonga provides quality perimeter defense and athleticism to make up for his offensive troubles. As Dekker showed during Toronto’s final preseason game, he has improved his 3-point shooting to the point where the Raptors just could not refuse to add him. Both of these factors worked against Wainright and expedited his exit.

Is this move ultimately in the best interests of the Raptors organization? Considering what Wainright might be able to bring to this roster, the possibility of this move coming back to bite them shouldn’t be discarded.

Should the Toronto Raptors have kept Ishmail Wainright over Sam Dekker?

The Raptors have tons of frontcourt depth on paper, but with both Chris Boucher and Pascal Siakam working their way back from injuries and Scottie Barnes likely to be on the perimeter a ton rather than being stuck as a traditional power forward, Wainright could’ve been a perfect bench addition behind them.

Built like a tight end at 6-4 and 241 pounds, the biggest issue with Wainright, going back to his college days at Baylor, was his inability to become a factor on offense. While making half of his 3-pointers in the preseason and 33% in Summer League play might not be astounding given the lack of volume, it showed that he could’ve had a role as a catch-and-shoot type.

Raptors fans fell in love with the guy over the course of the last few months, and it’s easy to see why given his outgoing and gregarious personality. Dekker lit the Wizards on fire, but it’s a bit tough to see Wainright get knocked off of the roster because of that outburst.

Ultimately, despite Wainright’s improvements, Dekker proved to be the better shooter with the higher offensive ceiling. On a team that often eschewed going after shooters in favor of players with a higher defensive ceiling, reinforcing the roster with a player like Dekker was a perfectly logical decision.

Unfortunately, since he is not eligible for Raptors 905, this is in all likelihood the end for Wainright in Toronto. Raptors fans should hope that some NBA team is intrigued enough by what he showed in the preseason to roll the dice on him before he starts exploring overseas options.