The Toronto Raptors are scrambling to find anyone with a pulse that can eat up NBA minutes in the near future due to their COVID-19 outbreak. While they did play a game with the requisite eight players needed to compete, they needed to consider swapping one out for Alize Johnson.
The Raptors had Johnson in their ranks last season as a member of Raptors 905 in the G League. After refusing to promote him to the big league team, Johnson earned a contract with the rival Nets and parlayed some impressive showings into a contract with the Chicago Bulls.
With the Bulls ravaged by COVID-19, they were able to sign Alfonzo McKinnie on a 10-day contract. Due to their apparent decision to value McKinnie’s perimeter game over Johnson’s rebounding, the Bulls made the decision to part ways with the Missouri State alum.
Toronto let Johnson slip through their fingers last season, and they blew a chance to rectify that issue by adding him now. Johnson signed a 10-day contract with the Washington Wizards, taking him out of Toronto’s grasp.
Could the Toronto Raptors sign Alize Johnson?
Johnson averaged 16.6 points and 13.5 rebounds per game in the G League bubble, but Toronto chose to promote Henry Ellenson and let Johnson land with a rival in Brooklyn. Johnson averaged 5.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in just over 10 minutes per contest. Johnson amassed 1.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per contest with Chicago.
Johnson might be small for a center at 6-7, but that hasn’t inhibited him from becoming a quality NBA-level rebounder. With some very impressive athletic ability and rim-running skills, Johnson could’ve been a slightly more experienced Band-Aid until some of the bigger names returned.
Three of the Raptors’ four 10-day signings are big men, meaning that one of them would’ve bitten the dust in this scenario. However, due to his familiarity in Toronto’s scheme, enough proven rebounding skills to make an impact, and offensive potential worth developing, Johnson would have made a ton of sense.
When Johnson declared for the draft, there were some concerns about how a smaller 6-7 power forward would play in the NBA without a quality jump shot. Even without a knockdown jumper, Johnson has proved the doubters wrong with his high-intensity style of play.
Toronto could’ve erased the mistake they made of letting him go if they brought him back as a COVID-19 replacement. Instead, a depleted Washington team decided to bolster their frontcourt.