Javon Freeman-Liberty signs with Raptors: Instant reaction and analysis

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 9: Javon Freeman-Liberty #4 of the DePaul Blue Demons (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 9: Javon Freeman-Liberty #4 of the DePaul Blue Demons (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors do not want their roster to have open spots for too long, as they have worked with lightning speed to fill the remaining vacancies. That desire has helped begin the Raptors career of former DePaul star and Chicago Bulls guard Javon Freeman-Liberty.

After signing Markquis Nowell to a two-way contract right after the 2023 NBA Draft and inking Ron Harper Jr. to the same deal after Summer League, Toronto acted quickly to fill their third and final spot. With Mouhamadou Gueye moving to Raptors 905 on a permanent basis, Freeman-Liberty was quickly targeted and signed.

After averaging over 21 points per game with the Bulls in Summer League play, Freeman-Liberty played well enough to catch the attention of the Raptors. Rather than locking up Gueye or standout center Moses Brown, the Raptors stole a quality player from another team.

While the Raptors did end up signing three ball-handling guards to their two-way spots, they all profile as players who can make an impact on offense. Freeman-Liberty has his flaws, but he is a bucket-getter. Such players have been in short supply over the years in Toronto.

Toronto Raptors sign Javon Freeman-Liberty from Bulls

Freeman-Liberty averaged 16.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game during his college career, which was split equally between Valparaiso and DePaul. In his final season for the Blue Demons, JFL put up 21.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game with some impressive 43/37/74 shooting splits.

Freeman-Liberty, who spent most of last season with the G League Windy City Bulls,  averaged 21.2 points per game with 49/46/77 splits for the Bulls in Summer League. The Raptors felt the sting of the 6-4 guard on both ends of the floor, as his hustle matched his scoring skill.

It became clear very early in the Summer League process that Freeman-Liberty would be a player that either signed a cheaper NBA contract or landed a desirable two-way spot.

The fact the Raptors managed to sign him right after the news that Ayo Dosunmu was staying in Chicago obviously doesn’t make up for how Toronto missed out on their bigger prize, but at least they managed to take one guard away from the Bulls.

The Raptors’ three two-way players include a diminutive point guard who has thrived statistically despite his flaws, an unusually-built guard/wing hybrid with potential, and a microwave scoring guard with untapped defensive skills. Those three archetypes have often served Masai Ujiri well.

Next. 5 players the Raptors kept for too long. dark