Raptors 905 Update: How are the young players progressing?

PORTLAND, OREGON - NOVEMBER 15: Dalano Banton #45 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OREGON - NOVEMBER 15: Dalano Banton #45 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors, Dalano Banton, Malachi Flynn
TORONTO, ON – DECEMBER 02: Dalano Banton #45 of the Toronto Raptors, a teammate of Malachi Flynn (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

However you want to slice the Toronto Raptors‘ success to this point in 2021-22, nobody can say it’s been boring. With the All-Star level play of Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet as well as the emergence of rookie sensation Scottie Barnes, Raptors basketball has kept our eyes glued to the TV.

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget all of the good things that Raptors 905 is cooking up down in the G League.

You know that Dalano Banton has split minutes between the NBA and the G-League and you know that some draftees and young signings are building themselves up in Mississauga. You may even know that the team brought in former Raptor and long-time NBA veteran Jodie Meeks.

Despite the ever-changing roster due to two-way contracts, they’ve carved out a respectable 12-10 record if you count the Showcase Cup.

The Raptors use their minor league team as a training ground more effectively than anyone else in the NBA. The number of key Raptors who started their careers with the 905 is an extensive and decorated list. Players like VanVleet, Siakam, Norman Powell, and Chris Boucher number among them.

Will anyone else join them?

Toronto Raptors: Raptors 905 progress report

905 Rookies

Before we get to talking about Banton, we first have to talk about David Johnson.

Taken with the 47th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Johnson showed promise after his sophomore year at Louisville, averaging 12 points a game on 38% from beyond the arc.  t’s this last stat that’s telling because while Johnson has had a slow start to his NBA career, it’s mainly due in part to his shooting slump from range.

A strong 3-and-D wing, Johnson’s offense becomes that much more deadly when his shot is falling. That will be the key to finding his foothold in the NBA. There is always room on an NBA roster from a wing like him, the key will be finding his range again.

The other fun name we must mention is Alex Antetokounmpo.

The younger brother of the mighty Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 20-year-old Alex caused a stir when he was signed to the Raptors 905 late last summer. While he hasn’t logged a lot of minutes yet, he can hold his own at this level. Got to start somewhere.

Ok, it’s Banton time!

Dalano Banton is too good for Raptors 905.

For those who’ve hesitated to fall in love with this 6-9 point guard Rexdale, know that while he hasn’t seen the same NBA minutes as when the Raps were riddled with injuries, he’s been spending that time absolutely destroying the G League.

As if his size at that position wasn’t scary enough, in the G League, Banton has been averaging 27.4 points, 5.0 assists, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. He is shooting 52% from the field and 35% from three in only 33 minutes a night.

While it’s not at the highest level, the manner in which Banton has been dominating the competition with the 905 shows huge promise for things to come. This man will not ride an NBA bench for long.