There’s not much to be happy about right now in the world of Toronto Raptors fandom. The Omicron variant has crippled the team, forcing them to call up minor-league players just to get by. As much as we love Yuta Watanabe, having him as the number one option is a little sad. One of the few bright spots has been big man DJ Wilson.
On Sunday night, the semi-present Cavaliers defeated the barely present Raptors by 45 points. While they put forth an extremely spirited effort against the Philadelphia 76ers, they ultimately fell in defeat.
Lesser executives may have brought up some athletic 20-year-old with some potential, but Masai Ujiri is too smart for that. Instead, he signed multiple replacements with past NBA experience. Utilizing this grim period as a way to test the waters for potential additions to the active roster, he might have found one in Wilson.
Wilson has averaged 12.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game in 23 minutes per contest with Toronto. While he was efficient on offense in the Cleveland game, he played some solid interior defense in the Philadelphia loss.
We’ve seen enough. Wilson is more than deserving of an NBA contract.
The Toronto Raptors should sign DJ Wilson to an NBA contract.
Raptors fans may remember Wilson from his time with the Bucks, during which he faced off against Toronto in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals.
Wilson has had a bit of a rocky start to his NBA career. Drafted 17th overall in 2017 by the Bucks out of Michigan, Wilson ran into some issues playing power forward on a team that featured Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Being a rookie on a team contending for a title didn’t help Wilson’s minutes either, and he found himself stuck in the rotation behind more seasoned veterans like Nikola Mirotic, Jabari Parker, Ersan Ilyasova, and the Freak himself.
After a brief stint in Houston, it seemed like his NBA ride was coming to an end. Who cares about the third power forward on the rebuilding Rockets? It seemed like circumstance had knocked a talented player out of the league, as he was forced to sign with the G League’s Oklahoma City Blue.
DJ Wilson had a stellar debut for the Toronto Raptors.
Enter Masai Ujiri, a man on the hunt for cheap, young help in the frontcourt. Signing Wilson to a ten-day contract and rolling him out against a quality Cavs team, the former Wolverine was one of the few bright spots in a night that saw Toronto trounced.
The 25-year-old finished the night with 15 points, eight rebounds, and four assists, all while shooting 75% from the field. Not only that, but he looked fluid with the ball in his hands.
He showed moves in the half-court, patience on the interior, and he found cutters and shooters with some great passes. Let’s not forget the stellar defense with five steals to boot.
Let’s take a look at how he performed against Philadelphia. After being held out of action in the first half, Wilson caught fire when he came in. In just 13 minutes, Wilson tallied nine points and six rebounds while playing some truly exceptional defense.
Despite being matched up against some elite players like Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris, Wilson was able to protect the rim and hold them in check for most of the afternoon. They need to carve out a role for him when everyone returns.
Wilson begs the question of who could be the lead option off the bench’s back end. More conventional in style and more easily acclimated to the dunker spot, Wilson has a lot to offer Toronto if he can stay the course. It appears as though the addition of Wilson has reinvigorated Chris Boucher.
Boucher has always been a bit of a feast-or-famine player. Someone with a lot of gifts and a lot of flaws as well. Contrast that with Wilson, who’s younger, bigger, stronger, faster, and cheaper. The Raptors need to keep him around.
It’s just two games, but keep an eye on this guy. We may see a lot more of DJ Wilson in Raptors colours.