Raptors Summer League: All you need to know

Philip Scrubb led Carleton in points (18.6) and assists (4.9) per game. (Fred Chartrand/CP)

The Toronto Raptors kick off their Summer League schedule Friday against the Sacramento Kings in Las Vegas.

The roster features three Canadians in Jordan and Dallin Bachynski, and Philip Scrubb, in addition to Delon Wright and Norman Powell, the Raptors’ picks from June’s draft.

Here’s a little more on the notable players representing Toronto in the desert.

Philip Scrub
A three-time CIS MVP, Philip Scrubb has already been playing in the Orlando Summer League with the Memphis Grizzlies, where he put up rather inauspicious averages of 2.8 points and 1.5 assists per game on 23.1 percent shooting over four games played at 13 minutes of action per. Despite these poor numbers, Scrubb is still worth checking out. He’s the best player to come out of the CIS in a while and is likely playing for a spot on Toronto’s new Raptors 905 D-League team.

Jordan Bachynski
The 2014 Pac-12 defensive player of the year, Jordan Bachynski went undrafted last year and spent a part of the 2014-15 season playing sparsely in Turkey, before getting picked up by the D-League’s Westchester Knicks. Now the Calgary native is once again fighting for NBA recognition as a legit seven-foot-two shot-blocking centre. Like Scrubb, he’s been playing in the Orlando Summer League, averaging 1.3 blocks per game in 8.7 minutes per game with the Orlando white squad.

Dallin Bachynski
The younger brother of Jordan, Dallin Bachynski is also a seven-footer. Unlike Jordan, however, Dallin is without the shot-blocking pedigree and also played more sparse minutes in college than his brother did, averaging 13.9 minutes per game in his three-year career with the Utah Utes.

Bruno Caboclo
After a rookie campaign that saw the Raptors’ 2014 first-round pick play almost not-at-all in both the NBA and D-League, Bruno Caboclo has quite a bit to prove. He will be starting the year on the Raptors 905, but seeing as he was a first-round pick you’d hope to see improvement over the 11.4 points per game on 39.5 percent shooting he put up in the summer last year.

Delon Wright
The Raptors’ first-round pick this year, the Summer League probably isn’t the best forum to introduce fans to Delon Wright’s defensive chops. It’s a known fact there is no defence being played in Summer League, meaning fans won’t really get to see what Wright is all about. Regardless, Wright will be given an opportunity to show his fearlessness going towards the basket and that should satiate those who don’t know who he is.

Lucas Nogueira
Like Caboclo, Lucas Nogueira is Raptors 905-bound. The former 16th overall pick of the Boston Celtics back in 2013, “Bebe” may only be 22, but it’s about time he begins to show real improvement. In four games played in the D-League last season, he put up impressive numbers of 10 rebounds and two blocks per game. He needs to build on this in Las Vegas and carry that momentum onto the Hershey Centre floor for this season.

Norman Powell
After trading Greivis Vasquez on draft night, the Raptors were able to get into the second round and picked up Norman Powell, a four-year player from UCLA. Like Wright, Powell is a defence-first combo guard and improved on his scoring average each year in college. He’s also ridiculously athletic so expect to see some dunks from him in Vegas.

DeAndre Daniels
DeAndre Daniels was the Raptors’ second-round pick in 2014, but he never played with the team this past season. Instead, he went to play in New Zealand where he averaged 14.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game with the Perth Wildcats. Daniels likely will be on the team’s D-League squad, but as a six-foot-nine smooth-shooting small forward with championship pedigree (he was a key member of UConn’s 2014 national title-winning team), he has a chance to crack the big club as well.

Other Las Vegas standouts

The Raptors won’t be the only team in Sin City with exciting young talent. Here are other players to watch from the 23 other teams sending a squad down.

Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
The No. 1 overall pick from June’s draft, Karl-Anthony Towns will likely get the most attention simply because of that distinction, similar to Andrew Wiggins a year ago.

Zach LaVine, Minnesota Timberwolves
There is no defence being played in the Summer League. You can probably guess what the Tune Squad superstar is going to do.

D’Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers
As the second-overall pick — and the highest Los Angeles Lakers draft pick since James Worthy was taken first overall in 1982 — D’Angelo Russell has a lot of expectation to impress in Summer League.

Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
The more interesting story for the Lakers, however, is the Julius Randle comeback trail. The 20-year-old’s rookie campaign was taken away from him in the Lakers’ season-opener last season after breaking his right tibia. Summer League will be the first time he plays in a game since.

Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia 76ers
Jahlil Okafor, the third-overall pick, has already been impressing in Summer League, averaging 14 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in Utah. Expect that production to continue or increase as Okafor has looked a lot more mobile than many have given him credit for.

Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks
Despite New York Knicks fans whining, Kristaps Porzingis, the fourth-overall pick, is a good prospect and they’ll learn why during Summer League. Seven-foot-three centres with his level of athleticism, ball skills and shooting touch don’t come around all that often.

Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver Nuggets
The pseudo-equivalent to Dante Exum last summer in that not a lot of people have ever seen him play, Emmanuel Mudiay will draw a lot of interest for this reason and because at the start of last season, he was projected to go first overall.

Hasheem Thabeet, NBA D-League Select
How the mighty have fallen. Hasheem Thabeet, a former second-overall pick, is playing on the NBA D-League Select squad, a team comprised solely of D-League players. Thabeet’s NBA career has been one lowlight after the next, so let’s just add this to his list of growing “accomplishments.”

Canadian Talent

Toronto also won’t be the only team with Canadian representation on its roster. Here are the rest of the Canadians.

Nik Stauskas, Philadelphia 76ers?
There’s a bit of confusion here with the Mississauga native. Nik Stauskas was reportedly traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, but he’s still officially listed on the Sacramento Kings Summer League squad on the NBA’s Summer League website. So, what team is he actually on? We’ll find out soon enough.

Trey Lyles, Utah Jazz
Trey Lyles is an interesting case. Taken 12th overall purely for his potential as a six-foot-10 athletic power forward, he has never really played against top-flight collegiate competition. While at Kentucky, he was playing behind Towns and Willie Trill Cauley-Stein, meaning he was mostly going up against second-unit players. This isn’t his fault given how good Kentucky’s team was last season, but there is intrigue there. Thus far, in the one game he played in the Utah Summer League, he looked alright, scoring 10 points.

Olivier Hanlan, Utah Jazz
A sharpshooting point guard, Olivier Hanlan put up prolific scoring numbers in Boston College. He wasn’t able to do that in the Utah Summer League, only scoring 2.0 points per game, but a stroke like his can’t just fall off a cliff. He’ll get it together.

Nick Wiggins, Utah Jazz
The older brother of this season’s rookie of the year Andrew, Nick Wiggins is likely fighting for a D-League contract. If he’s unable to secure that, he’ll probably resume his career in Europe.

Kevin Pangos, Dallas Mavericks
Kevin Pangos probably should’ve been drafted in the first place, but no matter, the 22-year-old’s mixture of strong ball-handling and sweet shooting stroke make him an ideal NBA point-guard candidate. He will impress.

Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks
Traded to the Dallas Mavericks by the Charlotte Hornets as part of the Rajon Rondo blockbuster mid-season, all Dwight Powell has done is dominate the D-League. Averaging 26 points and 9.7 rebounds per game on 59.8 percent shooting split between the Hornets and Mavericks’ D-League affiliates, the former Stanford standout appears ready to officially graduate to the NBA, and a good Summer League should help him secure a spot.

Sim Bhullar, Sacramento Kings
The seven-foot-five, 360-pound behemoth Sim Bhullar returns for another summer with the Sacramento Kings. The allure of his size will always be there, but, like always, his conditioning remains a concern. Hopefully he can show that has improved in Vegas.

Brady Heslip, Minnesota Timberwolves
At this point everyone should know what Brady Heslip is all about. He can shoot the basketball like few others can, but his size, ball-handling and defence remain the reasons why he can’t land an NBA contract. There’s not much he can do about his six-foot-one frame, but if he’s able to show an improvement in either of those other categories in Summer League, then the NBA dream just might come true.

Khem Birch, Brooklyn Nets/New Orleans Pelicans
A shot-blocking force of nature, Montreal’s Khem Birch is splitting time between the Brooklyn Nets and New Orleans Pelicans in Las Vegas. He’s already played this summer with the Nets in Orlando, averaging 5.3 points, four rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 16 minutes per game. Birch’s shot-blocking instincts are legit, but at six-foot-nine and without a lot of girth to his frame he’s an undersized power forward, and that is, ultimately, what’s holding him back.

Stefan Nastic, Golden State Warriors
A five-year senior at Stanford, Stefan Nastic was able to show some of his pro potential in his final year, averaging 13.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. The Thornhill, Ont., native played with the San Antonio Spurs in the Utah Summer League where he got into just two games, playing 7.5 minutes per contest. It’s nice that he got Summer League invites, but Nastic seems destined for Europe as a pro, so enjoy watching him in North America while you can.

Kenny Chery, Portland Trail Blazers
A lightning-quick five-foot-11 guard, Kenny Chery enjoyed a nice two-year run with Baylor after beginning his collegiate career in junior college. Chery will be playing for a D-League contract and his up-tempo approach to the game should serve him well in Summer League, particularly because he won’t be seeing a whole lot of resistance on his way to the cup.

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