Title: NORM POWELL SWUNG THE RAPTORS-BUCKS SERIES
Date: April 25, 2017
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: For my latest at Vice, I wrote about Norman Powell changing Raptors-Bucks and the draft workout that flapped it into possibility.
Rashad Vaughn must have been having flashbacks on the bench.
As the story goes, the Toronto Raptors first became enamored with Norman Powell in a pre-draft workout in the lead-up to the 2015 NBA Draft, a workout that included Vaughn. Powell, who was already carrying a chip on his shoulder out of self-belief that he should be a top-25 pick rather than on the second-round bubble, came into Toronto and turned in one of the most tenacious workouts the coaching staff can remember, completely locking down the much more highly regarded UNLV product. He earned raves off the court, too, and tested well in terms of maturity and—most important for a rookie joining a winning team, according to some psychological personality profiling—ability to thrive and grow in a smaller role early on.
On draft night, the Milwaukee Bucks selected Vaughn 17th overall. As the draft ticked on, then-general manager Masai Ujiri worked the phones. The Bucks had debuted in the playoffs that spring and came up short in six games against the Chicago Bulls, but the foundation laid was encouraging enough that they were ready to begin putting bigger pieces in place for a substantial step forward (they’d later sign Greg Monroe, for example). And so fortune would have it that ahead of the No. 46 pick, Ujiri was able to send Grievis Vasquez to the Bucks for a future first-round pick and—after they selected him on Toronto’s behalf—Powell.