The Toronto Raptors have a history of turning players with unusual dimensions into stars, as Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet both found homes north of the border. Masai Ujiri has taken on yet another diminutive developmental project in former Kansas State guard Markquis Nowell.
While Nowell had a sterling college career as a Wildcat with production that warranted first-round consideration, no team was willing to use draft capital on a guard that (on a good day) measures at 5-8 and comes with efficiency concerns. Toronto rolled the dice by signing the UDFA to a two-way contract.
Despite the fact he isn’t starting his NBA journey from a position of strength, Nowell is not lacking in confidence or belief in himself. Nowell has bigger plans than just simply making the roster and becoming a role player. He has eyes on an even bigger prize.
Nowell posted an Instagram story in which he boldly claims that he will be the greatest player ever to put on a Raptors jersey. This confidence helped him become a collegiate star, so fans shouldn’t deride or mock him for believing he can be a future Hall of Famer.
Markquis Nowell believes he will make Toronto Raptors history.
Being a 5-8 guard is like being a fighter pilot, or perhaps a boxer. You need a borderline delusional level of self-confidence to get the most out of your physical and mental abilities. Nowell might not succeed in the NBA, but it won’t be for lack of effort or belief in himself.
While his shooting was all over the place in Summer League, Nowell showed many of the traits that made him such a difficult player to stop in college. His passing instincts and skills are truly astonishing for someone with his frame, and he and Moses Brown become a nearly unstoppable duo in pick-and-roll scenarios.
Muggsy Bogues knows a thing or two about both playing with the Raptors and succeeding as an undersized point guard in the NBA. The former 5-3 Raptors ball-handler urged fans not to sleep on Nowell, believing that his determination will supersede his physical limitations.
While Nowell is much shorter than VanVleet, Toronto saw something in the Wichita State product and allowed him to prove his worth on the floor. In a year that is as much about development as it is winning, Toronto must be as forgiving with Nowell as he tries to stick around and make noise in Canada.