Should the Raptors give David Johnson a shot off the bench?

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 11: David Johnson #13 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 11: David Johnson #13 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

With the success that Toronto Raptors rookies like Scottie Barnes and Justin Champagnie have been having, it’s easy to forget that they used a draft pick on point guard David Johnson. The Louisville alum has been comically unlucky this season, and that has led to him playing just two NBA minutes this season.

When the Raptors were losing depth due to the COVID-19 wave sweeping through the NBA, Johnson was unable to get called up from the G League due to a nagging calf injury. He had his own stint in the protocols right after he returned from that injury. While Dalano Banton gets rotation minutes, Johnson is stuck in Mississauga.

However, there is an opening for Johnson to get some minutes. Malachi Flynn has played well of late, but he is just one or two stinkers away from losing his rotation spot. With both Banton and Flynn far from rotation stalwarts, could Johnson be on his way up?

Johnson has been putting together some very promising performances with Raptors 905, and his long 6-5 frame could help him slide into the lineup without being a defensive liability. With both sides of the ball in desperate need of some reinforcements, should Nick Nurse shake things up and try Johnson out?

Will the Toronto Raptors play David Johnson?

Pessimists might point to Johnson’s 39% success rate in the G League and still inconsistent shooting as reasons to keep him in Mississauga. However, he is putting up better numbers than what Flynn was amassing with 905.

While he might not be a super-effective shooter just yet, Johnson has plenty of energy and passing instincts that could help this offense get the kick in the rear they need. After two brutal losses, now is the time to start experimenting to find out which does and does not work. Maybe Johnson will hit his stride in the pros.

Nurse was willing to give Champagnie, who wasn’t even drafted and has the same two-way contract Johnson has, a chance to make his mark. Even though he isn’t a rotation player, he performed much better than expected. Johnson could be in for a similar ride.

Even if he’s a bit on the raw site at the moment, the goal of sticking Johnson down with 905 is to get him ready for extended NBA action. With his offensive game flourishing and Toronto stuck in the mud on offense, Johnson may finally get the opportunity he needs to strut his stuff on the grandest of stages.

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