Toronto Raptors 21 in 21: What role will Garrett Temple earn?

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - NOVEMBER 12: Garrett Temple #41 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - NOVEMBER 12: Garrett Temple #41 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors could have used their final guaranteed contract spot on a young player with potential or a point guard the team is familiar with in Jeff Dowtin. Instead, Masai Ujiri wanted another experienced voice in the room, bringing in journeyman guard Garrett Temple.

After leaving the New Orleans Pelicans, the 37-year-old Temple decided to join what will be his 12th NBA team in 14 NBA seasons. Part of the reason (perhaps the main reason) Temple keeps getting signed is the fact he has a solid gold reputation as a leader and locker room presence.

While both Temple and Thad Young bring veteran leadership to this team, the guard might have a better shot of eventually getting some minutes due to the team’s need for more perimeter shooting. Even at his advanced age, Temple is hungry and eyeing more playing time.

Will the Raptors actually sate his desire to become a somewhat regular rotation presence? With how close some of Toronto’s developmental prospects are to getting NBA minutes, Temple can’t just assume that he is going to last for the entire season, irrespective of his play.

Toronto Raptors 21 in 21: Will Garrett Temple get some playing time?

Stats: 2.0 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 0.5 APG, 40% FG, 42% 3PT

Temple had bounced around as a rent-a-shooter with teams like the Grizzlies, Nets, and Bulls after multi-year stints in Washington and Sacramento. In the last two years, Temple has tried to act as a pseudo-coach and leader for a very talented, yet young, Pelicans team.

Temple’s value at this point in his career lies almost entirely in his ability to shoot from 3-point range. A career 35% shooter, Temple’s 42% success rate from this range will likely be written off by many as a product of such limited playing time in New Orleans before his waive.

Best Case Scenario for Garrett Temple in 2023-24

Temple becomes the 11th man in the rotation, providing solid 3-point shooting when called upon. Temple is not going to shut anyone down like Marcus Smart, but he could get in the way enough on the defensive side of things.

Temple’s services as a locker room peacemaker and mentor for young talent will be just as important as whatever he ends up doing on the court. On a team that had some issues behind the scenes, Temple keeping everyone in the locker room on track will be essential.

Worst Case Scenario for Garrett Temple in 2023-24

Temple ends up getting cut before the beginning of the season. If Jeff Dowtin, who is on a non-guaranteed deal, is so impressive in the preseason that one veteran player needs to bite the dust to accommodate him, Temple won’t put Toronto in too deep of a financial hole.

If he sticks around, there is a good chance that Temple will become a highly-paid assistant coach who occasionally can come into games when the outcome has already been decided. Temple’s 3-point shot faltering would be a death knell for his NBA career.