The Toronto Raptors will once again try to fill out the back end of the roster with a combination of promising young players and veterans looking for one last chance to make it in the pros. Toronto trimmed one last piece of fat after most of the free agency dust settled.
The Raptors waived Armoni Brooks in order to avoid paying him a six-figure sum that would have been guaranteed on Monday. With one open space left, Toronto will likely have five or six players competing for a handful of spots before the roster gets trimmed to 15 NBA players.
While most of these players are likely not going to play a huge role in Toronto’s rotation, they will need to be relied on when the inevitable string of injuries start to impact the depth of this team. A large chunk of the preseason will be spent on this part of the lineup.
Based on their fit within Toronto’s system and their short-term potential when called into action, these three players seem to be the most likely of the bunch to stick around. Nick Nurse and Masai Ujiri need to nail this decision, as it could net them a critical win or two down the road.
3 Raptors most likely to make the final roster
3. Justin Champagnie
Champagnie came to Toronto as an undrafted two-way player who was always one bad two-week stretch from being cast aside in favor of someone more promising. Not only did Champagnie prove himself with Raptors 905, but he earned some crucial minutes with the big league club.
Champagnie averaged 12.8 rebounds (6.6 offensive) per 100 possessions in his rookie season, proving that his ability to smother the glass and provide some pesky defense at multiple spots will help him carve out a more prominent NBA role. With guarantees that trigger if he makes the roster, Toronto clearly values Champagnie.
Justin Champagnie could make the Toronto Raptors.
There was a period of time last year when Champagnie was “knocking on the door” of the rotation. If he’s made the necessary improvements to his game in that time, releasing him before the season (barring a shocking regression) would be a very puzzling maneuver.
Champagnie achieved the near impossible task of becoming a fan favorite despite coming into the NBA with major flaws in his game and minimal hype. He’ll be back with the team in some capacity if the Raptors’ front office has a functioning hive mind.