Title: Handicapping the race for the Raptors’ final roster spots
Date: October 2, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I handicapped the two races between eight players for five roster spots taking place in Raptors training camp.
In what has become one of my favourite annual traditions and probably the most painfully on-brand of my regular columns, it’s time to handicap the race for the Toronto Raptors’ final roster spots. To paraphrase a recent conversation with a member of the Raptors, anyone can cover Kawhi Leonard and a championship, it’s how we cover players 13-through-17 on the roster that defines us. Not really, obviously, but I love doing this column and staying true to the Raptors 905-focused roots.
This year’s should be more interesting than ever. Instead of one and maybe two spots being up for grabs like in recent years, the Raptors ostensibly have five roster spots that hang in the balance this preseason. Those are split into two battles: Five players on partial guarantees fighting for the final three standard NBA roster spots and three players on Exhibit 10 deals fighting for two open two-way roster spots.
The introduction of two-way players has complicated this exercise some, especially since the Raptors have shifted their approach over the three-year existence of such deals, making them progressively more open-competition spots. The impact on the NBA roster has not been profound in direct two-way impact – four two-ways have combined to play 483 minutes over two seasons – but three of those four players eventually ended up on the standard NBA roster (Lorenzo Brown, Malcolm Miller and Chris Boucher, with Jordan Loyd standing as the exception).