‘The next steal’: Rico Hines sees a bright future for Raptors’ Paul Watson Jr.

Title: ‘The next steal’: Rico Hines sees a bright future for Raptors’ Paul Watson Jr.
Date: May 20, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Raptors’ two-way player Paul Watson Jr., his breakthrough G League season, and why a well-regarded player development coach believes he’ll be a steal for the Raptors.

The rent in Los Angeles can be prohibitive.

That’s especially true on a G League player’s salary. Rico Hines appreciates that reality, and so when Paul Watson Jr. showed up shortly after the 2018-19 G League season ended, Hines knew Watson was in for a special summer.

Watson had been working out with Hines since going undrafted out of Fresno State in 2017. Hines’ workouts on the UCLA campus have become the stuff of legend, with superstars dropping in regularly for runs with players spanning the college ranks to the G League to the NBA. It was footage from those runs that first got buzz growing about the growth of Norman Powell, Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam, with young Raptors (and non-Raptors) showing off new skills in the closest thing to a live setting that players can get during the offseason.

The Raptors have even made visits to the Hines runs a part of their summer program. Between the end of the playoffs and the beginning of training camp, the team’s younger players bounce among their homes, Toronto, Las Vegas for Summer League, Burnaby for a stint at Alex McKechnie’s Fortius Sport & Health facility and Los Angeles. During their two-week stint in L.A., they spend the mornings doing individual and team workouts, then double back as a group to participate in the games Hines puts on. This past summer, 13 Raptors and Raptors training camp hopefuls joined Siakam and Stanley Johnson — two of Hines’ regulars — in the UCLA runs.

Watson wasn’t yet a part of the organization, but he was a part of those runs.

Continue reading at The Athletic.

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