3 Fringe Raptors roster players who deserve to return next season

Markquis Nowell, Toronto Raptors
Markquis Nowell, Toronto Raptors / Cole Burston/GettyImages
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No. 1: Markquis Nowell

The final name on our list is likely a surprising one, for a number of reasons. First, Markquis Nowell is a 5'8" guard in an era of NBA basketball where small players get eaten alive on defense. Secondly, he played just four minutes for the Toronto Raptors last season in his rookie campaign. Finally, Nowell isn't even on the team anymore; they waived him during the season to sign Mouhamadou Gueye and he signed a standard G League contract with the Raptors 905.

In those four minutes that Nowell got on the court, however, he put up two rebounds, two assists and a steal. In much more robust minutes in the G League he averaged 15.1 points, 10.1 assists and 2.0 steals. Every moment he steps onto a basketball court he is wildly productive, seeing the court and the passing angles that open up as he moves the defense by physically moving himself and the ball, both laterally around the perimeter and by driving into the teeth of the defense.

To survive at any level as a player shorter than the competition you have to be incredibly skilled and incredibly driven, and Nowell is both of those things. He thrived in college despite the expected hurdles and disrespect given to someone of his stature, and he made it onto an NBA court despite being multiple inches shorter than anyone else in the league.

Nowell has some work to do in order to earn his way back to NBA playing time, but the Raptors should give him that shot. He is talented, he is incredibly skilled and they are not currently flush with point guard depth. A two-way contract slot opened up with Jontay Porter's banishment from the league, and the Raptors should take a chance on Nowell and see what he can offer next season.

Next. 5 Toronto Raptors who definitely won't be back next season. 5 Toronto Raptors who definitely won't be back next season. dark