The Toronto Raptors are big fans of signing a handful of players to non-guaranteed contracts that become fully guaranteed if they end up on the opening night roster. This element of competition promises to once again add some spice to the usual preseason deluge of games.
Newcomers like Juancho Hernangomez and Josh Jackson will compete with 2021-22 holdovers DJ Wilson, Justin Champagnie, and Dalano Banton for one of the last spots. Undrafted rookie Gabe Brown is also going to give it his best shot on an exhibit 10 contract.
While they will technically be a part of the competition, Champagnie and Banton are widely expected to take up two of the three open spots. Brown might be competing for a spot, but his Exhibit 10 contract means that he is likely viewed as a Raptors 905 piece.
This year’s battle will be even more challenging than the competition that left Ish Wainright squeezed out of a roster spot. Toronto could positively spin any one of these three players, as all of Wilson, Hernangomez, and Jackson have traits that will make them valuable as a backup.
1 reason for the Toronto Raptors to keep each roster bubble player
DJ Wilson: Defense
Wilson was expected to contribute next to nothing after arriving as a COVID-19 replacement, but he has since made a somewhat impressive mark on this team with his blend of defense and hustle. Being thrown against names like Joel Embiid and holding his own helped Wilson get a boost of momentum.
Wilson has remarkable quickness for a 6-10 post player, which fits in with what Toronto likes defensively. With Hernangomez and Jackson both coming in as deficient defensive players overall, getting one more post body might be more important than a scorer given how top-heavy this offense is.
DJ Wilson could defend well for the Toronto Raptors.
Wilson can be a respectable rim-runner and energetic shot-blocker. After being given a lack of opportunity in Milwaukee and not being given the time of day on a tanking Houston team, Wilson might finally get the chance to show everyone what he’s capable of in Toronto.
The fact that Wilson is still on the roster and was signed to so many despite playing in just four games shows that the Raptors are genuinely intrigued by his skillset. Still just 26 years old, Wilson still has his best basketball ahead of him. Will that come with Toronto?