Outside of a few diehards who are desperately trying to figure out which fringe NBA players will be solid G League developmental projects, most of the attention surrounding the Toronto Raptors’ Summer League schedule is centered around first-round pick Gradey Dick and his performance in Las Vegas.
After struggling in his first action and showing more of his skills in his second, Dick was scheduled to face off against much-hyped No. 5 pick Ausar Thompson and his Detroit Pistons. In what was going to be his most difficult challenge yet, Dick looked like he was back at Kansas shredding Big 12 defenses.
In 16 first-half minutes, Dick finished with 18 points on 6-12 shooting and (one miss was a 50-foot halfcourt heave). Dick would finish with 22 points, leading all scorers and giving fans a brief glimpse of what is to come when he hits the ground running at the professional level.
Thompson would amass 17 points and nine rebounds, as his steals on defense were not enough to keep Dick and the Raptors off the scoreboard. Detroit may have won, but Dick was dynamite in this one.
Toronto Raptors SG Gradey Dick outduels Pistons’ Ausar Thompson
Part of why it took so long for Dick to get going was the fact that his skills weren’t being utilized properly. Dick is primarily an off-ball shooter, and Pat Delany saw fit to stick the ball in his gut for long periods. Luckily, he has been getting more effective and comfortable with each game.
Dick might not be a tremendous on-ball defender, but he has active hands and a penchant for creating turnovers when needed. A willing and able passer, Dick has shown that he can keep the ball moving. Even when he isn’t shooting, he is finding ways to impact the game on both ends of the floor.
Dick also started to dig deep into his bag in this game, showing a creative and artistic side to his game that will leave many Raptors fans salivating at the thought of what he could become with more work. His impressive layup package has been flexed, with his spinning drive to the rim raising eyebrows.
The Raptors’ Summer League schedule will be a massive success if they can make sure that Dick is feeling comfortable in the system and empowered to play his game. Nights like tonight showcase the full potential of what he could be.