Grading all Toronto Raptors rookies as first year comes to a close

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 5: Dalano Banton #45 and Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 5: Dalano Banton #45 and Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /
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Justin Champagnie, Toronto Raptors
WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 21: Justin Champagnie #11 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Scottie Barnes and the Toronto Raptors are just a few lucky swings away from potentially escaping the play-in tournament and earning the No. 6 seed. This achievement is even more impressive when you look at how they have committed to their new youth movement this season.

The Raptors put a ton of responsibility on Barnes’ plate during his first season, but they also used draft picks on Dalano Banton and David Johnson while adding Justin Champagnie as an undrafted free agent. Toronto took a gamble on their ability to quickly develop talent.

While all of these names have gone through some noticeable peaks and valleys this season, it’s hard to come away from this year anything less than impressed at how these youngsters have conducted themselves. Toronto has seen some standout performances from stars and less-heralded youngsters alike.

With the regular season starting to wind to a close, it’s time to check up on these rookies and observe if they’re making strides in the right direction. Toronto’s ability to take young players and turn them into contributors is getting stronger by the year.

Grading all Toronto Raptors rookies in 2021-22 season.

Justin Champagnie

Remember him? Champagnie became a fan favorite early in the season after his terrific rebounding and hustle earned him a very small role in the rotation. Unfortunately, the addition of Thad Young and Champagnie’s holes as a player have relegated him to Raptors 905 duty of late.

Champagnie averaged 2.2 points and 2.0 rebounds per game even though only playing in short snippets at the end of games hurt his ability to make an impact consistently. It remains to be seen if he’ll stick around in Toronto, but he’s proven he can be a viable NBA player.

Justin Champagnie has had nice moments for the Toronto Raptors.

Champagnie will need to show that he is a viable shooter, as his lack of offensive creation was the flaw that helped him go undrafted and the main reason that he’s been unable to get back in the rotation. Considering the flashes he’s shown, Toronto will need to figure out some way to retain him for next year.

Champagnie is a legitimately effective rebounder at the professional level that has earned a second season in the NBA. Knowing how perusing the undrafted free agent market could be like trying to find a needle in a haystack at times, Toronto should be thrilled with how he’s played this year.

Grade: B