The Toronto Raptors struggled to get quality bench scoring from their backcourt last season. It got so bad that expected contributors like Svi Mykhailiuk and Malachi Flynn were axed from the rotation. If they want to improve via the trade market, Nickeil Alexander-Walker makes almost too much sense.
Alexander-Walker averaged 9.9 points per game while making 33% of his 3-pointers and playing solid perimeter defense during his time with the Pelicans. After a midseason trade to the Utah Jazz, his value went down the drain thanks to a lack of playing time.
This is by no means an indictment of his ability as a player. In fact, the massive drop in production shows that he and Quin Snyder just did not see eye to eye. If he comes back home to Toronto, where he was born, via trade, he could start to take that next step as an essential Sixth Man.
Eric Koreen of The Athletic mentioned Alexander-Walker as a potential trade candidate in a deal that sends Flynn away to Utah. NAW was completely handicapped by Snyder last season, and he should be able to get back on the right track if he joins the Toronto rotation.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker fits with the Toronto Raptors.
It’s hard to judge Alexander-Walker’s tenure in Utah fairly, as Quin Snyder seemed bizarrely unwilling to give him any sort of responsibility. NAW had just 3.5 points per game while playing for less than 10 minutes per contest. Considering what we saw in New Orleans, he needs a more consistent role.
Alexander-Walker was asked to create for New Orleans due to their general lack of offensive talent amid Zion Williamson’s injury battle. With the Raptors, all Alexander-Walker would be asked to do it to hit wide-open 3-pointers, help space the floor, and be a pest on the perimeter like Gary Trent Jr. was. That defined role could help him thrive.
Alexander-Walker was never the most efficient finisher, as he is a career 39% shooter. Even if he never becomes excellent in that particular area, that length and shooting that Toronto needs on the perimeter will be very appealing for Nick Nurse. He needs to go to a winning environment that will give him minutes, and Toronto will provide that.
Considering that all Alexander-Walker would have to do to justify the trade is be more offensively proficient than Flynn and Mykhailiuk, that isn’t a very high bar to clear. The Ontario-born guard has his best basketball in the windshield rather than the rear-view mirror, and Toronto would do well to make sure that those seasons come with them.