Gradey Dick isn't a rotation lock in 2024 after tough Raptors rookie season

Dick needs to start showing more quickly.
Toronto Raptors v Chicago Bulls
Toronto Raptors v Chicago Bulls / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The Toronto Raptors have been very open in declaring the remainder of the 2023-24 season an exercise in player development, giving young studs like Gradey Dick and Scottie Barnes a runway to dominate. Barnes has certainly taken advantage, but Dick can't seem to string good games together.

Dick is averaging just 4.0 points per game, though his lack of efficiency has been the bigger issue. The alleged deadeye sniper has shot just 32% from the field and 28% from 3-point range, a sharp reversal after a college season at Kansas that saw him nail over 40% of his 3-pointers on very high volume.

Toronto's blowout loss to the Houston Rockets showcased the two worst habits Dick has put on display. Not only has he been inefficient, but he is overwhelmingly passive. Dick had taken just one shot in a 31-minute span during his last two games, but he also chucked at the end to finish 1-8 from the field (the make was a dunk) and 0-4 from 3-point range.

Toronto's youth movement means Dick will likely be in the rotation for the remainder of the season. However, if he keeps this level of production up, it's not unreasonable to assume that he will not start the 2024-25 campaign in the starting rotation.

Will Gradey Dick be in the Toronto Raptors' rotation in 2024?

Being bad as a rookie is fine. However, the fact that Dick is struggling so mightily in his area of expertise, meaning developmental energy will have to be expended on getting his shot back into gear, is alarming. Scottie Barnes had rookie struggles in some areas, but everyone saw the talent instantly. This would be like Barnes shooting 34% in the paint as a rookie.

Dick has been a better defender than some may have expected, but he still isn't particularly good in this area. He can take all the charges and steal as many passes as possible, but he will never live up to expectations if he keeps bricking like this.

It's easy to play the hindsight game and look at names the Raptors could have drafted when Dick was regarded as an equal or better prospect, but Ujiri may have whiffed on some big names. Jordan Hawkins has been a solid shooter, Keyonte George looks much better than dick, and Cam Whitmore has been on fire lately.

Dick is an intriguing developmental case, as the Raptors need to decide if his shot will naturally come back or if he will need some mechanical tweaks. Guessing wrong could send Dick on a one-way path to bust territory.