Toronto Raptors 21 in 21: Will Mouhamadou Gueye impress the coaches?

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - DECEMBER 03: Mouhamadou Gueye #15 of the Pittsburgh Panthers (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - DECEMBER 03: Mouhamadou Gueye #15 of the Pittsburgh Panthers (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors are going to once again put player development at the heart of their operating philosophy in the 2023-24 season. Such a desire could bode well for Mouhamadou Gueye, a robust defensive wing who will likely end up with Raptors 905 to start the season.

Unlike fellow Exhibit 10 signee Kevin Obanor, Gueye managed to start and put together some impressive games in Summer League competition. Gueye averaged 7.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game in five Summer League games alongside Gradey Dick and Markquis Nowell.

Gueye, who was a defensive mastermind at Stony Brook and Pitt in college, is eyeing an NBA spot after spending last season with the Texas Legends in the G League. There is no better place for him to go than Toronto, who loves versatile 6-9 forwards with shooting concerns more than any team in the league.

Making an NBA roster in a more permanent role on an Exhibit 10 deal is very difficult, but Gueye has the skills needed to do so if he can fix concerns about his shooting and on-ball offensive game. Can he do that in such a short span of time?

Toronto Raptors 21 in 21: Exhibit 10 forward Mouhamadou Gueye

Stats (with Texas): 9.0 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.7 BPG, 55% FG, 18% 3PT

Gueye won America East Defensive Player of the Year with Stony Brook before transferring to Pitt. While he wasn’t as good offensively as former Raptor Justin Champagnie, Gueye clearly has more potential on the defensive end of the floor.

Gueye was able to use his long strides and verticality to attack the basket in Summer League while serving as a nice connector who got the ball to scorers like Dick. He will need to play a similar role early in his Raptors career to get in the staff’s good graces.

Best Case for Mouhamadou Gueye in 2023

Gueye will continue to shine over Obanor and be as compelling a Raptors 905 call-up as any of the two-way signees. The G League will likely give him a very long leash on offense, as they want to give him every chance to stick long-term.

After playing guard in high school before growing, Gueye developed terrific ball-handling and passing skills to accompany his defense. Both of those traits will be held in high regard by Darko Rajakovic, which bodes well for someone who is a flawed player right now.

Worst Case for Mouhamadou Gueye in 2023

Like Obanor before him, Gueye is in a very precarious position. A few bad weeks of practice could be all the Raptors need to part ways with him. If he does get cut, it will likely be due to his inability to make meaningful progress in diversifying his offensive game.

In a league that is moving more toward positionless basketball every year, players like Gueye on the free agent market are a dime a dozen. Gueye can move well and defend, but he isn’t a threat with the ball in his hands. Toronto could move on from Gueye without a second thought.