Raptors must start Gradey Dick for the rest of 2024 to evaluate his fit in future

The Raptors are using Dick all wrong.
Toronto Raptors v New York Knicks
Toronto Raptors v New York Knicks / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Toronto Raptors rookie Gradey Dick would be the first to tell you he has not had a very good rookie season. After the Kansas star was picked No. 13 overall in the 2023 NBA Draft, Dick has shot under 30% from 3-point range despite that being his best trait during his collegiate days.

Even with struggles so bad that Dick was demoted to the G League (where he had some efficiency problems as well), the recent trades of Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby show that Toronto is willing to let some wings go by the wayside if it means that Dick gets extra development time.

Dick didn't look too out of place in a tough loss against the Los Angeles Clippers, but he was still being used all wrong. Dick shot just seven times in 21 minutes, missing all three of his 3-pointers. Most of his minutes came at the end of the game when victory for LA was assured.

After such a slow start and with as many as four picks in the top 31 at Toronto's disposal, Dick is guaranteed next to nothing as far as playing time goes next season. If they really want to see what he is made off, Dick needs to start and get a steady diet of shots.

Gradey Dick must get a bigger role for developmental reasons with the Toronto Raptors.

While it is nice to see Dick contributing in other facets of the game like making timely passes and showing defensive effort, his success as a player will be judged almost entirely by how well he shoots from 3-point range. Dick needs to be given a long leash in order to break out of his extended slump.

In about 15 minutes per game during his last five contests, Dick is averaging just four shots per game. That number needs to be almost doubled, as his abilities as a shooter are much more enticing than whatever he can bring to the table right now as a defender and cutter.

If Toronto really believes Dick will be a long-term starter in the NBA, they need to do everything they can to embolden him. Going 0-3 from deep isn't a good look, but a few more shots might translate to some more makes as they try to stack positive performances. The most effective way to give him more opportunities on offense is starting him and giving him a green light.

The Raptors have two possible top-20 picks, and they will likely add a guard who can shoot at some point in the draft. Dick will have competition on his hands next season, and the only way Toronto can evaluate him properly is by handing him a bigger role.