In a year that was supposed to be a grand unveiling for Toronto Raptors standout rookie Gradey Dick, the former Kansas star has fallen on his face. Rather than looking like yet another Raptors developmental success, his play has regressed to the point where he remains unviable.
Dick was drafted No. 13 overall with the expectation that his shooting would help him contribute right away. Even after being sent to the G League and put through a rigorous strength and conditioning program to add weight, he didn't look much different in his return to Toronto.
Dick went scoreless in his return to NBA action against the Utah Jazz, missing a few more jumpers and once again looking completely out of place on defense. Dick is now shooting 28% from the field and 23% from 3-point range in the NBA.
While development is not linear, and Dick rediscovering the shot that made him so lethal at Kansas could play a huge role in rehabilitating his stock among Raptors fans, his struggles have been so concerning that the front office needs to at least start considering the possibility it simply is never going to click with him.
Should the Toronto Raptors be concerned about Gradey Dick?
After going 4-6 from 3-point range in his third NBA game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Dick has made just seven of his last 39 3-point attempts. The Raptors would likely make peace with some defensive struggles if he shot well, but he doesn't look well-equipped for NBA minutes on either end right now.
If Dick was lighting up the G League, something that names like Dalano Banton and Malachi Flynn did regularly, the Raptors could skew that positively. Dick has scored 15.1 points per game with Raptors 905, but he's only made 36.7% of his shots and 28% of his 3-point attempts down at the lower level.
Many of the players drafted after Dick have established themselves as NBA rotation players. New Orleans' Jordan Hawkins and Utah's Keyonte George are quality (if a tad inefficient) pro scorers, Golden State's Brandon Podziemski looks like a bright spot, and Miami's Jaime Jaquez Jr. is an All-Rookie Team lock.
Dick could go on a heater that gets his averages back to respectability and reigniting all the hype fans had when he was drafted No. 13 overall. That may happen sooner rather than later, but the idea of potentially using Toronto's only first-round pick in three drafts on a whiff of this magnitude has to be creeping into the front office's mind.