Raptors scouting: What Yuta Watanabe, Alize Johnson and Henry Ellenson bring

Title: Raptors scouting: What Yuta Watanabe, Alize Johnson and Henry Ellenson bring
Date: November 28, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the three new faces in Raptors camp competing with holdovers for roster spots and what each brings to the table.

Every G League game is an audition.

That’s a mentality that plenty of G League players live by. You never know when an injury could occur at the NBA level, when a roster spot could open or where your next Summer League or training camp opportunity might come from. That proximity to the NBA dream is the reason players choose the G League route and a constant hum of anxiety and pressure. It’s overly simplistic to say that playing well against an opponent could be the key to their front office noticing you, but it sure doesn’t hurt.

To wit, Justin Anderson had three monstrous games with Raptors 905 against the Long Island Nets last season. The Brooklyn Nets later signed him to a 10-day contract, then acquired his G League rights and finally signed him as a replacement player for the bubble. A few years back, 905 wing Axel Toupane turned strong G League Showcase performances into call-ups in consecutive years. (He’s back in the NBA on a camp deal with the Golden State Warriors.) The 905 have been a launching pad for players to reach a higher international level, get on the 10-day or camp radar or earn full-time NBA opportunities.

Such is the case with Henry Ellenson, who was acquired in the Anderson trade. After a strong close to the abbreviated 2019-20 season with the 905, Ellenson will be in camp with the Raptors on a two-year deal with a small guarantee. He’ll be competing against Oshae Brissett and Paul Watson Jr., a pair of 905 success stories.

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