Toronto Raptors 21 in 21: Will Jeff Dowtin outplay a veteran?

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - APRIL 02: Jeff Dowtin Jr. #20 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - APRIL 02: Jeff Dowtin Jr. #20 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors were given a boost from the most unlikely of sources last season, as Jeff Dowtin went from Summer League star and two-way point guard to a semi-regular rotation presence who outplayed two Raptors draft picks in Dalano Banton and Malachi Flynn.

Dowtin is not a great offensive player right now, but he showed terrific speed with the ball in his hands and defensive effort. The Raptors did bring him back, but his contract is non-guaranteed. He would need to beat out one of the team’s more established players to earn a roster spot.

Dowtin has competition this season, as Flynn is still around and Markquis Nowell is in town thanks to his two-way contract. Masai Ujiri may not have been super truthful when he pegged Dowtin as a big part of the team’s future in a postseason press conference.

No matter how rough the situation looks for Dowtin, his ability to consistently overcome the doubters and make himself the best version of what he can become bodes well for his chances of impressing this new-look coaching staff.

Toronto Raptors 21 in 21: Young PG Jeff Dowtin

Stats: 2.4 PPG, 0.9 RPG, 1.2 APG, 44% FG, 31% 3PT

Dowtin’s per game numbers belie the impact he made in his time with the Raptors, as he was a pesky defender who could get to the basket on offense to make himself somewhat effective on that end. After bouncing around as a G League and COVID replacement, Dowtin appeared to find a home.

Best case scenario for Jeff Dowtin in 2023

Dowtin ends up kicking a guaranteed player like Flynn or Otto Porter Jr. out of town. Dowtin has already shown to have been a competent defender, and he could continue on that path this season. On offense, Dowtin should keep proving he is a much better passer than the numbers indicate.

Dowtin’s 3-point shooting is the key to him becoming a solid player who doesn’t get passed around between teams. Between a lack of willingness to shoot it and poor percentages from deep throughout his basketball career, he has one critical weakness that needs to be improved upon.

Worst case scenario for Jeff Dowtin in 2023

The Raptors would not only get rid of Dowtin, who could struggle to take the necessary steps forward as a shooter and rebounder, but they would lose him to the Philadelphia 76ers, who acquired Dowtin’s G League rights. A division rival snatching him up wouldn’t be optimal.

Dowtin has already shown the rest of the NBA that his defensive skills and energy are good enough to be impactful at the professional level, but it is incumbent on him to keep smoothing out the rough edges in his game. Without it, he might need to find a new NBA home.