Though it may not seem like it, Sunday, Jan. 5 is a pretty important day on the NBA calendar for teams looking to add some extra depth to fill out their rosters.
This is because Jan. 5 marks the time when teams can begin signing players to 10-day contracts.
Now, normally, this wouldn’t mean much other than to the most hardcore of observers, but given the state of the Toronto Raptors, the 10-day market could be an intriguing area for the team to keep an eye on as it continues to weather the storm of injuries it finds itself in right now.
As such, here’s a look at three possible 10-day contract candidates whom the Raptors might want to look at as potential buoys for their depth going forward.
Two prime candidates already reportedly off the table
Before we dive into the list proper, it’s worth noting that a couple of very strong, close-to-home candidates have already reportedly agreed to 10-day contracts with other teams: Justin Anderson and Paul Watson.
Both Anderson and Watson are players on Raptors 905, but aren’t signed to the Raptors proper, meaning they’re fair game for any other NBA team to come and offer them a contract, which, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, is exactly what has happened.
The 26-year-old Anderson is averaging 21.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game while shooting 48.4 per cent from the field and 34.3 per cent from distance on 8.3 three-point attempts in 13 games played with Raptors 905 this season.
Watson, 25, is averaging 18.4 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting 53.3 per cent from the field and 46.7 per cent from deep on 7.1 three-point attempts per game.
Either Anderson or Watson could’ve been an intriguing experiment for the Raptors as a pseudo-replacement for Norman Powell’s shot-making and defence as each of them project to be three-and-D wing players at the NBA level.
Devin Robinson, forward
Sticking with the 905 for just a moment longer, Robinson is a former member of the Washington Wizards who joined the Raptors’ G League affiliate this season, where he’s been averaging 20.2 points and 6.5 rebounds on 51.1 per cent shooting.
He’s an ultra-athletic, six-foot-seven wing player with a still-developing outside stroke and a lot of upside given his measurements and the fact that he can be effective as a small-ball power forward, something the Raptors have been sorely lacking since Pascal Siakam went down.
And this isn’t to say he could possibly replace what Siakam does — no one can – but the experiment of OG Anunoby at the four hasn’t gone as well as many would’ve liked, and in cases where Nick Nurse wants to stay small, having another option who could fill that role, even in very limited minutes, might help.
Jamal Crawford, guard
Is this actually a realistic scenario, you ask? Probably not, but for argument’s sake, let’s just call this wishful thinking – on two counts.
Firstly, it would be great to see Crawford back in the NBA in some form or another, even if that means him just returning on a 10-day contract. He’s turning 40 in March, but in a recent story from The Seattle Times’ Percy Allen, Crawford said he is not retired and would like to return to the NBA.
Secondly, he’s a guy who just last April went off for 51 points in a game at the age of 39, meaning there’s still a lot of basketball left in him if he makes a comeback. He’s definitely someone who can still help any of the 30 NBA teams, so why not the Raptors?
The biggest blow Toronto sustained via their rash of injuries was to their scoring potential. Kyle Lowry has obviously stepped up and taken on a greater scoring burden, but that’s not necessarily what he does best. Crawford, on the other hand, is a bona fide bucket-getter and could provide a real spark off the bench when Lowry is forced to sit and the Raptors’ offence starts to dry up.
A member of the Phoenix Suns last season and the Minnesota Timberwolves the season before that, it’s been a little while since Crawford’s played for a decent club. If he were to join Toronto he’d be joining a good one that could use a player of his particular talents.
Eric Mika, centre
With Marc Gasol out and no clear timeline as to when he’ll return, the Raptors are incredibly thin at centre, only left with Serge Ibaka and Chris Boucher – the latter of which is still making an adjustment to playing the five spot as he prefers to play power forward.
That’s why, when Sportando’s Emiliano Charchia reported that former BYU standout and 2017 First Team All-WCC centre Eric Mika was getting released from the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, his name became one of immediate interest as a possible 10-day candidate for Toronto.
In seven games played with Xinjiang, Mika averaged 19.9 points and 11.7 rebounds per game while shooting 56.1 per cent from the field.
He’s an adept interior player offensively and is an all right shot blocker, although he lacks the needed mobility and athleticism to be a true difference maker defensively at the NBA level.
With that said, the Raptors are sorely lacking depth at the five, and a six-foot-10, 233-pound guy who can score around the basket and set hard screens seems like someone who might be worth taking a flyer on.