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What to expect from Toronto Raptors D-League team, Raptors 905

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For the first time in history the Toronto Raptors will have an NBA D-league affiliate based in their own city. For those that don’t know or need reminding; the NBA D-league (D for Development) is the minor league of the NBA, it currently has 19 teams and each is affiliated with a team/s in the NBA. The rosters are made up of various types of players, there are the rookies acquired from the D-league draft. There are players who are allocated spots after missing out on NBA roster places. Players who were accepted after the local open try-outs that each club puts on and of course the players from NBA clubs on what is generally known as D-league assignments. Often Rookies and Sophomores who are not getting game time or need further developing are sent here, in the past veterans including the likes of Amar’e Stoudamire have played in the D-league while rehabilitating from injury.

For D-league players it is a chance to Delon Wrightmake an NBA roster or gain a contract in Europe. Players can be signed from the D-league to an NBA team at any time. The creation of the new team allows the Toronto Raptors to fully operate its own D-league franchise, in the past it has had to share its D-league affiliate with other NBA teams – most recently with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. The franchise was based in the US, making it more difficult to want to take players in and out due to travel.

The 2014-15 Raptors had 8 players with D-league experience and has assigned 4 players over the past 3 seasons.

Brazilians Bruno Caboclo and Lucas Nogueira both spent time with the Mad Ants last season and will likely feature on the Raptors 905 squad – especially Caboclo who’ll be only 20 years old when the new season begins. This season I would expect him to bounce between the 905 and the Toronto Raptors quite a lot. The development of a forward like Caboclo could see him come off the bench in some games and then hopefully star in the D-league from which he gains the experience to be better equipped to life in the NBA. Delon Wright who was drafted with the 20th pick in the draft may also see some time with Raptors 905. Wright is a 23 year old guard who won’t see too many minutes with players like Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, DeMar DeRozan and the newly acquired Cory Joseph who are all capable of playing similar roles.

The expectation with Raptors 905 being based in Mississauga, Ontario and MLSE looking to promote the new franchise, would be that a decent amount of players from this seasons Raptors see minutes in the D-league. The NBA Summer league signings can provide a lot more options in D-league possibilities.

Norman Powell is probably the biggest name out of the summer league, a 23 year old guard who played College in UCLA, he was drafted in the second round and Raptors 905named to the Summer league all-star team. Ronald Roberts who has spent time in the D-league before with the Delaware 87ers and is now with the Toronto Raptors after impressing in the Summer league. Michale Kyser a huge 6″9 Forward out of Louisiana Tech that went undrafted but was signed after playing with the Toronto Raptors during the Summer League earlier this season. Shannon Scott a 22 year old Point Guard who was with San Antonio during the Summer League and hit a buzzer beater vs the Boston Celtics in the semi-finals. Axel Toupane from France is another signing from the Summer league, he has spent time in Europe with Strasburg and went undrafted in 2014.

The Toronto Raptors also hold the rights to 2014 second round pick DeAndre Daniels, who spent last year playing with the Perth Wildcats in Australia’s NBL. His hopes of appearing in the summer league were dashed when he suffered a fracture in his right foot, the Toronto Raptors may allocate him to the 905 team or give him a trial if they can’t find another overseas team to take him on.

Raptors 905 logo

The NBA D-league has already held it draft and as a result the Raptors 905 already have a roster in currently in place. The most notable player is probably Earl Clark, who was drafted to the NBA by the Phoenix Suns in 2009, he was selected 14th. DeRozan was the 9th pick of that draft so the opposite career direction is on full display. Clark played with the Suns, Magic, Lakers, Cavs and Knicks before finding himself in the D-league with Rio Grande Valley Vipers, playing a season in China and then being part of the Nets roster in 2015. He is the highest drafted player in the current D-league roster. Another notable NBA player would be Dahntay Jones who was picked 20th overall in the 2003 draft, at 34 years old he has played with Memphis, Sacramento, Denver, Indiana, Dallas, Atlanta and the Clippers. He spent more than one season at just Memphis and Indiana as well as having some past D-league experience. A lot of the current roster is mainly players who have spent time going all around the basketball world looking for a home and maybe never quite settling or being in a not good enough for here but too good for there type situation.

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With the squad in place and a number of talented players making possible additions to the Raptors 905, they should be an impressive bunch to watch this D-league season. So it might be worthwhile to follow them closely, see what they do and maybe even get out to a game if possible.

As mentioned earlier all D-league teams offer open tryouts in the local area.The Raptors 905 are hosting try-outs on the 19th of September and registration is now open. Every participant receives a Raptors 905 shirt and tickets to a game, see the Raptors 905 website for more information and registration details.

 

 

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