The Toronto Raptors were very aggressive in filling out their two-way contract slots, as Markquis Nowell and Ron Harper Jr. were signed early in the process. The final spot went to a new face who was one of the G League’s best last season in former DePaul star Javon Freeman-Liberty.
JFL was one of the best players in the G League for the Chicago Bulls’ minor league affiliate, and he continued that hot stretch in Summer League. Bulls fans were irate when the team was unable to retain such a promising young player ahead of the 2023-24 season.
The Raptors need half-court scoring as severely as any team in the league, and they are willing to go to all sorts of places in order to find young players who can help him check that box. Freeman-Liberty hasn’t shown off his stuff in the NBA yet, but he is worth the investment.
The Raptors invested in him like a player they think is just a few sessions with Darko Rajakovic away from becoming a worthwhile NBA player. Will Freeman-Liberty reward the Raptors for their interest in him, or will he end up once again mired in the ranks of the G League?
Toronto Raptors 21 in 21: Will Javon Freeman-Liberty be a solid scorer?
Stats (G League): 18.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.4 SPG, 49% FG, 38% 3PT
After averaging 21.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game in Summer League play, Freeman-Liberty was named an All-Summer League Second-Team selection. The ball-dominant scorer who helped the Blue Demons thrive in his college days made the trip to the pros.
The Bulls could have used him last season, as they (like Toronto) were suffering from a lethal case of poor guard depth that helped bring their campaign to a very unfortunate end before they got to the postseason. The Chicago native could be out for blood after leaving his hometown.
Best case scenario for Javon Freeman-Liberty in 2023
JFL has the chance to actually get some slight rotation time in much the same way that Jeff Dowtin did last season. As with Dowtin, the Raptors will need to figure out if he is worthy of signing a proper NBA contract that gives him security for the remainder of the season.
A quality shooter who can get to the basket and pull up at a very efficient clip, Freeman-Liberty needs to work on his overall defensive game if the Raptors are going to give him a featured role over one of the many veterans percolating on the roster.
Worst Case Scenario for Javon Freeman-Liberty in 2023
Freeman-Liberty would get outplayed by his fellow two-way contract players in the nightmare scenario, which could be a death sentence for a player that Masai Ujiri did not draft or sign when he had the chance out of college.
Freeman-Liberty would need to find some way to contribute on offense without the ball in his hands quite frequently, which goes against everything that he did at DePaul and with Chicago’s G League team. Going against his style of play could be difficult.