Nick Nurse might be trying to steal Jeff Dowtin from Raptors

CLEVELAND, OHIO - FEBRUARY 26: Jeff Dowtin Jr. #20 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - FEBRUARY 26: Jeff Dowtin Jr. #20 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors’ preseason schedule will place many of their less-heralded role players in the spotlight. After impressing on a two-way contract last season and becoming a semi-permanent rotation player, Jeff Dowtin will try to make this team after Nick Nurse bolted for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Dowtin was able to jump over both Malachi Flynn and Dalano Banton in the rotation, as his blend of pesky defense, effort, and solid passing ability made him better than the inconsistent Flynn or offensively deficient Banton.

Nurse has tried his hardest to get the proverbial band back together in Philadelphia, bringing over former Raptors assistant coach Rico Hines and signing 2019 champion Danny Green. Dowtin won’t play that impactful of a role in the NBA, but Nurse is still trying to make sure the Rhode Island alum will be under his purview.

The Delaware Blue Coats, Philadelphia’s G League affiliate, acquired the returning player rights to Dowtin in a deal that sent Mac McClung to the Osceola Magic. Essentially, should the team cut Dowtin in the preseason, he will revert to Philadelphia’s G League affiliate rather than Orlando’s team.

76ers eyeing Toronto Raptors PG Jeff Dowtin.

While an NBA team can assign players to their affiliate in the G League, Raptors 905 technically never held his player rights. Since Dowtin played for the then-Lakeland Magic two years ago, they held his returning rights. The G League’s roster rules can get a little wacky.

With this move, Nurse would get a chance to secure the services of a player he stuck his neck out for in the past. Dowtin’s 2.4 points and 1.2 assists per game belie his true impact, as his defensive hustle and speed with the ball in his hands were both very impressive.

Dowtin faces a tough climb when it comes to making the Raptors. All of the team’s guaranteed contract spots are used up, so the only way for him to make the squad with a non-guaranteed deal would be to outperform a veteran like Flynn or Otto Porter Jr. and force Toronto to cut ties with them. It’s possible, but very difficult.

Dowtin may never become the scorer he needs to be to stick in the pros, but it’s hard to look at his play last year and not see the potential for a solid role player on a contending bench if he plays his cards right. Nurse knows this, and he’s trying to pilfer one of his old Raptors.