Will Raptors keep Jeff Dowtin after Darko Rajakovic praise?

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) /

In the near future, the Toronto Raptors will have to make a very tough decision with point guard Jeff Dowtin. He has a non-guaranteed deal that will pay him if he makes the Opening Night roster, but he will need to jump through a few hoops in order to get that money.

The Raptors have all their guaranteed contract spots filled up, meaning they would need to suck it up and absorb a hit to their cap space to bring Dowtin on. For a team that has preached financial flexibility in the last few years, losing it would be difficult to swallow.

Toronto has been very outwardly complementary of Dowtin, who managed to sneak into Nick Nurse’s rotation last year thanks to a blend of speed, pesky defense, and hustle. Darko Rajakovic knows the tough situation the former Rhode Island star is in, but Dowtin’s coach says he is making the most of it.

“He’s a very hard worker,” Rajakovic said. “He’s an amazing competitor. I feel bad for him for not being able to play in the Summer League. I feel that he lost a little bit of momentum there. But since then, he’s doing an amazing job… He’s just the guy that brings it every single day, and we like Jeff a lot.”

Will Darko Rajakovic keep Jeff Dowtin on the Toronto Raptors?

It appears as though the Raptors are letting Dowtin and former first-round pick Malachi Flynn engage in a mini-battle for one of the final roster spots. With Otto Porter Jr. likely staying and Garrett Temple providing veteran leadership, Flynn is the most logical cut candidate among the guaranteed contracts.

Flynn struggled in his first preseason action against the Sacramento Kings, making just one shot and turning the ball over multiple times. Dowtin didn’t get on the floor, and it remains to be seen just how long the rope will be for a player Rajakovic has no prior history with.

To make matters even more confusing for Toronto, Nurse and the Philadelphia 76ers will be able to scoop him up if he is not on the roster. The Delaware Blue Coats, Philadelphia’s G League affiliate, acquired the rights to Dowtin from Raptors 905 in the offseason.

Dowtin has proven doubters wrong before, as that is the only reason he has come this far in the pros has been an insatiable work ethic. Will that be enough to beat out Flynn?