The Toronto Raptors are getting ready to kick off one of their classic training camp competitions, with names like Josh Jackson and Juancho Hernangomez fighting for one of the few remaining roster vacancies. Both of them are looking to bounce back with Toronto after subpar seasons.
While Jackson was let go by the Pistons after a sharp regression, Hernangomez, who signed a guaranteed deal with Toronto, is trying to rehabilitate his status within the league after being passed around the bench on several teams last year. Being Bo Cruz can only get you so far.
While Dalano Banton and Justin Champagnie are also on non-guaranteed deals, both of them are expected to make the opening night roster. That would leave Jackson and Hernangomez fighting with DJ Wilson and Gabe Brown for that final roster spot. Given Juancho’s guaranteed money, he seems like the favorite of this group.
Jackson and Hernangomez may both be on their last chances in the NBA, and the Raptors may only be in the mood to take one of them. Which one of these players should be retained for the 2022-23 season, based solely on how they can contribute if pressed into game action?
Will the Toronto Raptors keep Josh Jackson or Juancho Hernangomez?
Both of these players were signed for their ability to score the basketball. While Hernangomez profiles as a classic stretch big man with a nice ability to shoot the basketball, Jackson is a rim-rocking forward with solid athleticism and a passable jumper.
Considering how Jackson was thought by some to be the best amateur prospect in the country at his peak and the fact he has multiple double-digit scoring seasons under his belt, it makes sense as to why a handful of fans would believe he’d beat out Hernangomez. Toronto could always use more wings.
However, most of Toronto’s backup big men are defense-first rim protectors rather than scoring threats. Hernangomez can actually be a nice yin to Christian Koloko and Khem Birch’s yang. With two rebuilding teams in Detroit and Sacramento having given up on Jackson, that could be an indication of what the league thinks of him.
While Jackson might be a player that can come in and fill a position of need better than Hernangomez can, the fact that Juancho still has the guaranteed money means that Jackson needs to be nothing short of perfect to beat him out.
This might seem like an agonizing decision, but Toronto should be happy to have this competition between two players who have shown multiple times over that they can be valid NBA rotation players.