The Toronto Raptors have multiple players fighting for a roster spot in the build-up to the start of the regular season, which is not unusual given how the team has operated over the last few seasons. DJ Wilson is one of the hungry youngsters fighting for a spot.
Wilson was initially signed as a COVID-19 replacement who didn’t figure to last with the team beyond his initial trial run. After very impressive showings during his initial 10-day contract, Wilson was brought back two more times and eventually signed to the standard Raptors non-guaranteed multi-year deal in the offseason.
Wilson might face long odds when it comes to making the final roster, as he would be the fourth-choice center in the rotation should he make it. That doesn’t mean that he should be excommunicated from the race just yet, as he’s proven to be an NBA-level player.
Wilson wouldn’t have continued to earn new contracts with Toronto if the front office was not 100% sold on his ability to contribute to a winning team in the proper role. He’ll have to beat out some established Raptors to make the final roster, but last year suggests he’ll be able to stick.
Toronto Raptors season preview: How will DJ Wilson perform?
Stats: 7.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 73% FG
Wilson bounced around the league a bit after Milwaukee cut bait with him after four seasons. Due to the presence of so many frontcourt stars, Wilson never got consistent rotation time. After some time with the moribund Rockets and Thunder, Toronto gave Wilson his second chance.
While the Raptors saw enough in Wilson to bring him back for the start of this season, Pascal Siakam and Precious Achiuwa will be handling the center spot in the rotation with Khem Birch and recently signed rookie Christian Koloko as the reserves. Is there an avenue to playing time for Wilson?
Wilson was an energetic defender that managed to give the Raptors some extra spice on the inside. A rock-solid finisher and dunker that can pile up some easy points inside, Wilson has the athleticism needed to play the high-octane style of ball Nick Nurse wants to run. Stylistically, he’s a better fit than Birch.
Wilson is not going to add any excess value to Toronto as a shooter, making it thought for him to beat out Koloko and Birch for rotation time. While he had some nice moments thanks to the COVID-19 absences that granted him playing time, Toronto is right to worry about that being a two-game outlier rather than a positive trend.
In the best-case scenario, Wilson would make it to the final roster and take over Birch’s role in the rotation. In the worst-case scenario, he shows that he hasn’t come far enough on offense even to make the final roster. Wilson needs to be reevaluated after a few preseason games before the Raptors make any grand declarations.