The Raptors are basically ready to roll for next season according to Masai Ujiri who addressed the media yesterday and I made the trip down to Toronto. There should be some final announcements about the staff and Ujiri suggests he might look to invite a few young players to camp at the wing position. This seems a little odd given if you asked most people the Raptors would like to see the fans and media would likely say another big and preferably a center. Here is the full scrum from what he had to say from Raptors.com
The reason for Masai’s chat with media was official announcement of the signing of D.J Augustin. As you heard if you listen to Masai above one of the advantages to Augustin is his experience as a starter. It makes more sense than the combo of Stone and Buycks that was originally the plan. The key reason why is the worry you would have about Kyle Lowry’s health which was an issue last season. It would have been a little scary to say the least with two unproven point guards behind Lowry.
As for Augustin here is his first encounter with Toronto media:
I have always liked D.J Augustin who like T.J Ford came out of Texas. He had the unfortunate luck of being drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats. Who, by the way, are going back to being the Hornets once again. This is great news. D.J above talked about the struggles of being a part of that organization. He moved on from there to the Pacers which have been pretty successful the last few seasons. Augustin himself struggled last year and in the end came to the Raptors on reportedly cheap and one year deal.
This will likely be the biggest market and crowds for Augustin to deal with. While the Pacers have been successful the market in Indiana is far smaller and the fans have not exactly comeback to levels like the days of Reggie Miller in the 90’s. It will be interesting to see how he handles it all. Also the fact the Dwight Buycks had an impressive Summer League and could as some point grow into a contender to be the primary back-up sooner of later.
No one had a better Summer League than Jonas. He had a video that went viral with being interviewed by DeMar DeRozan. He showed of his larger frame and played consistently well over the 4 games he took part in at Vegas Summer League. It was all topped off Yesterday with being voted on by the media as the MVP of Summer League.
As the Raptors and their fans tend to do this has been met with tremendous hoopla. Keep in mind a past winner of the Summer League MVP is Nate Robinson and you are keeping this accomplishment in its proper prospective. It is extremely positive how Jonas performed and he will be playing for his country later in Summer which should draw even more attention based on his performance in Las Vegas. At the end of the day what will matter is how he plays in that Raptors jersey at the end of October or start of November that ultimately matters.
So now we settle in and likely make Terrence Ross the worst Raptors since Chris Jeffries as one person tweeted to me. What I mean is that the over analysis of this team will kick into high gear. Keep in mind that this is in place of nothing else for people to write about at the end of the day. Jonas is not going be an All-Star next year and Terrence Ross is likely not getting cut or traded. But it might seem that way by the time October rolls around.
Summer League taken for what it is can be a useful tool. But it is just photograph of a moment in time in the longer off-season development of young players. It should never be taken to mean too much at the end of the day. This applies in both directions in terms of a player’s improvement or lack of improvement.
Chill it is a long summer still ahead of us.