While he would not be leaving the biggest shoes to fill, the possible departure of Terence Davis would leave a noticeable loss of depth at the shooting guard position on the Raptors roster. In recent weeks Terence Davis was arrested in connection with an assault. The case is active, but should he be found guilty, he would almost certainly be let go from the team. The young shooting guard recently came off of a strong rookie season averaging 16.8 minutes per game on the court. While his minutes were limited, he was productive with those he did get. It is very likely that the Raptors had a similar plan to mould and grow Davis into a star as they have successfully done with Fred VanVleet, and Pascal Siakam. Now, those plans look like they’ve gone wayward. It is likely the Raptors will try to Davis with somebody young who can be used in a similar fashion, and there are a few options whom the Raptors could explore to fill this gap.
One option the Toronto Raptors could explore is not to replace him at all. Also coming off of a rookie season, the Raptors already have Matt Thomas on the roster, with a lower 10.7 MPG compared to the 16.8 of Terence Davis, Thomas was able to contribute a competitive 4.9 PPG and 0.46 Points Per Minute. If you compare that to the 7.5 PPG and 0.45 Points Per Minute by Davis, the Raptors may already have a replacement for Davis on the team. This option would free up the value of Davis’ $1.2 million contract. With the cap freeze in the NBA this year, that money could go a long way in helping the team retain the services of VanVleet.
The Raptors could easily explore options from their strong G league roaster over at the 905. The team is currently home to a promising Shamorie Ponds who puts up strong scoring averages in the G league. At the age of 22 the young shooting guard has four NBA games under his belt with the Raptors, during which he was able to put up 2.3 PPG in 2.0 MPG, giving this young shooting guard an impressive 1.15 Points Per Minute at the NBA level. Though a small sample size, his promising potential is reiterated with his play in the G-League. With the 905, Ponds has proven to be a strong on-ball defender with a career high of five steals. Raptors basketball has thrived on strong defence for the past few seasons and a young player that can play both ends of the court should fit right in to the team’s style of play.
Looking towards the 2020 draft instead, the Raptors could consider 19-year-old Killian Hayes. Ranked the number 2 guard in the draft this year, Hayes had a strong professional season in the EuroCup. Of course, the Raptors would need to trade up in the draft to snag him. Averaging 26.8 MPG and 12.8 PPG, he produces an effective 0.48 Points Per minute. Proven to have keen court vision, he could find himself becoming a key component in the ever-evolving Raptors team. Able to play strong off ball defence is a skill that should not be overlooked. Similar to ex-Raptor DeMar DeRozan, Hayes is a strong mid-range shooter who is comfortable taking shots off the dribble. Adding a strong game on the defensive side of the court could see him becoming a more effective player for the Raptors than DeRozan was. The fact that Hayes can also play as a point guard could further help the Raptors down the line. At the age of 34, the Raptors have begun planning for the eventual retirement of Kyle Lowry, and adding a new point guard option to the lineup could be a smart move. After Lowry leaves the team it is likely that Fred VanVleet will step in to his shoes at starting point guard allowing the Raptors to slip Hayes in to the important role VanVleet currently fills.
Now it’s time for the unlikely option: he can be found on the free agency list this off season. Still young at the age of 23, Derrick Jones Jr. has proven himself to play bigger than his height of 6’6”, he is a small forward with a strong jump-shot and ball handling whose three-point shot leaves something to be desired. With some training, the young player’s ball handling could see some improvement that would allow the Raptors to play him as a shooting guard in addition to the positions of small-forward and power-forward that he already plays. Over the three seasons he has played in the NBA, he has showed a consistent improvement in his field goal percentage and has openly commented that he intends to continue to improve his shooting form. With three seasons already under his belt, he has seen some playoff minutes during the 2020 post-season with the Miami Heat. In his most recent season, Jones Jr. averaged 19.2 MPG and 7.0 PPG giving him 0.36 Points Per Minute. While he may not yet be the most productive player on the offensive end, he has a lot to offer on defence, which is a skill set that works well with the Raptors’ style of play. Jones Jr. plays strong perimeter defence, and has the ability to rebound, averaging 4.0 Rebounds Per Game. He could prove to be an effective rebounder for the Raptors at both ends of the court.
These are four very different options from four different places around the game of basketball. In the end, the Raptors will need to choose one path, if they ultimately decide to cut bait with Davis.