Raptors must play Justin Champagnie over Svi Mykhailuk in rotation

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 18: Justin Champagnie #11 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 18: Justin Champagnie #11 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors had two second-round picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, which turned into Dalano Banton and David Johnson, but an undrafted free agent on a two-way contract in Justin Champagnie has been getting more playing time than both of them in the last few weeks. His recent play should have Svi Mykhailiuk sweating bullets.

Mykhailiuk was given another chance in the rotation after weeks of poor play, and he responded by looking like a player that should be in the G League in a loss against the Phoenix Suns. Champagnie was given Mykhailiuk’s rotation minutes, and he did not disappoint.

On a night where Toronto grabbed 22 offensive rebounds, Champagnie tallied five in just 10 minutes, which helped the Raptors stay in a game against the defending Western Conference champions. Despite being just over 6-6 and lacking a great jump shot, Champagnie excelled as an off-ball guard in a supersized Toronto lineup.

After the game, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said that Champagnie is “knocking on the door” when it comes to getting him rotation minutes. Considering how well he has played in brief spurts and how bad Mykhailiuk has been lately, he’s kicked the rotation door down.

Toronto needs to sit Mykhailiuk down and get Champagnie some consistent playing time in every game.

Toronto Raptors: Justin Champagnie is playing better than Svi Mykhailiuk.

In his last nine games, Champagnie is averaging 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in just over 11 minutes per contest. Not only are traditional stats like that showing that he is making a positive impact in the game, but advanced stats make him look like a superstar.

Per Cleaning the Glass (Subscription required) the Raptors are 23.5 points better per 100 possessions when he is on the floor. This is the best mark for any wing in the league. The Raptors are scoring 16.9 more points per 100 and grabbing 11.2% more offensive rebounds when he is on, both of which are also the best numbers for a wing in the NBA.

On defense, they are allowing 6.4 fewer points per 100.

The only reason Mykhailiuk is getting minutes over Champagnie is his 3-point shooting. Outside of one outlier game, Champagnie has been a poor shooter in college and the G League.

That argument doesn’t hold up when you realize that Mykhailiuk is only making 32% of his 3-pointers, hasn’t made more than two triples in any individual game this season, and hasn’t even attempted a 3-pointer in his last four games. If Mykhailiuk isn’t shooting, why even have him out there?

Champagnie has been a treat to watch this season due to his versatility and hustle. If the Raptors want to run a complete meritocracy, look for Champagnie to get more minutes in the next few weeks.

Next. Constructing the perfect Raptors trade deadline. dark