Raptors front office gives Markquis Nowell flattering comparison

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 17: Markquis Nowell #1 of the Kansas State Wildcats (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 17: Markquis Nowell #1 of the Kansas State Wildcats (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors may not have traded back into the second round of the 2023 NBA Draft, but they were so enamored with the skillset of former Kansas State guard Markquis Nowell that he was signed to a two-way contract as soon as the draft festivities concluded.

Nowell has listed himself at 5-7, and he clocks in at 165 pounds on a good day. That has to be the only reason he went undrafted, as his statistical production and clutch performances with the Wildcats in college warranted a selection at some point in the 58-pick order.

Nowell was one of the few standouts on the Raptors 1-4 Summer League team, averaging 12.0 points and 6.8 assists per game. The latter mark ranked tied for second among all Summer League players who suited up in at least four games. The buzz and hype around Nowell are real, so much so that he got compared to a Raptors icon.

According to Josh Lewenberg of TSN, the Raptors’ front office is more excited about Nowell than they have been about any undrafted player since the recently departed Fred VanVleet was signed out of Wichita State. The size will be the obvious point of comparison, but Nowell is more than just a diminutive playmaker.

The Toronto Raptors are excited about Markquis Nowell.

Nowell’s highlights included a 17-point opening game in which he and Moses Brown managed to prove that they are both NBA-caliber threats in the pick-and-roll. Nowell punctuated Summer League with 17 points and 12 assists, all while making some clutch shots late in a win against the Warriors.

Much like VanVleet, Nowell’s feel for the game and passing ability is astonishing. Not only is he constantly avoiding turnovers, but he is pulling off passes that have an incredible degree of difficulty. He should have quite a fun time slicing up G League defenses.

Nowell is by no means a perfect player, with his efficiency standing in the way of more playing time. Nowell was consistently under 40% from the field in college, and he only made 34% of his Summer League shots despite his hot streaks in the first and last game. Fixing that will be the primary task at hand for Nowell.


The Raptors likely don’t think that Nowell can have a VanVleet-like career and become an All-Star, but betting on a player with such a decorated college resume and passing skills that simply can’t be thought seems like a reasonable roll of the dice for Masai Ujiri.

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