The Toronto Raptors have to be a bit frustrated with No. 13 pick Gradey Dick in his rookie season. After shooting under 30% from the field in limited action and not exactly tearing up the G League, it is not unreasonable to be concerned about his status with the team.
The fact Dick was billed as a low-floor player who could jump right into the rotation makes his tough start to life in the pros even more upsetting. The Raptors will still try to make him work, even though it is clear how much polish he needs before Darko Rajakovic can lean on him again.
One of the major problems scouts identified as a problem with Dick pre-draft was his frame, as he was quite skinny and needed to bulk up before he could take on the physical nature of the NBA. Rajakovic and the Raptors are now well aware of this fact, and they have a plan to combat it.
Dick has been in the middle of a special strength and conditioning program that will include more time with Raptors 905 before eventually bringing him back up to the NBA. There's a good chance eager Raptors fans don't see Dick in the NBA for the foreseeable future.
Toronto Raptors' Gradey Dick in special weight training program.
Dick may be listed at 6-6 and 205 pounds, but he plays much lighter than that. His offensive game has become limited to settling for 3-pointers, and he isn't a very positive asset on the defensive side of things. Perhaps he should have stayed in college another year.
All of his physical problems could be papered over if he was hitting 3-pointers at the same clip he was during his stay at Kansas, but he hasn't been able to find that same shooting stroke. In the G League, where he has had to create his own offense, he hasn't found that efficient stroke consistently.
The Raptors need players like Dick in the rotation, especially with Gary Trent Jr. likely to hit the open market in free agency relatively soon. Rajakovic has not wavered in his support for Dick as a player, saying that he is a big piece of the organization's future as Toronto tries to justify the pick.
Rookie struggling in the NBA is nothing new, and it seems unlikely that a player with Dick's 3-point shot would simply wither away into nothing in the pros. What is clear, however, is that Dick needs to become more physically adept if he is going to withstand the rigors of an NBA rotation spot.