1 thing Gradey Dick must do to become a rookie sensation with Raptors

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 14: Gradey Dick #1 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 14: Gradey Dick #1 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have fully recommitted to their old philosophy of drafting and developing their own internal young talent above all else. Due to that mindset, No. 13 overall pick Gradey Dick figures to feature prominently in the team’s roster construction plans for the next few seasons.

The former Kansas star put his skills on display in Summer League following a sluggish start. While he didn’t light the world on fire from 3-point range as he did during a standout college career at Kansas, he showed off all the creativeness and unusual finishing Toronto coveted in the draft.

The Raptors will likely give Dick a rotation spot relatively early in his professional career, as Toronto has a history of throwing young players into the fire. There will be ups and downs, like there are with every young player, and it is easy to see where some of the downs could pop up.

Dick’s work in the weight room will be as important as anything he does on the practice court this season. With Dick coming in at an extremely generous 205 pounds soaking wet, the young shooter needs to pack on the pounds in order to stick long-term in the pros.

Gradey Dick must add weight for the Toronto Raptors.

Dick has active hands on the defensive end, but his on-ball defense will not be particularly strong with such a bony frame that can be pushed around quite easily. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and Dick’s poor defense could compromise Darko Rajakovic’s scheme.

While Dick is a shooter first and foremost on the offensive end, his Kansas and Summer League film showed a player that was willing and able to generate looks for himself off the dribble and fly to the basket in search of a rim-rattling dunk or difficult finish. Playing at just over 200 pounds without jaw-dropping athleticism could be a problem for Dick.

Getting Dick into the 215-pound range might not sound like a tremendous improvement, but the Raptors could see the impact very quickly when he is no longer washed out of plays via screens or overpowered by stronger NBA wings.

The Raptors know that Dick could be a major cog in their machine during the next few years, but that cog could be ground down physically if he doesn’t pack on the pounds. If Dick can get to around 215, and be just as lethal a shooter and scorer, his full potential could be unlocked.

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