Raptors head coach Nick Nurse cited COVID-19 and injuries as reasons why the battles for the last two or three spots on the team’s regular season roster are more important than ever, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. As Nurse pointed out, even if a player makes the team as a 13th or 14th man, he may end up being thrust into a rotation role if others ahead of him are sidelined.
Ishmail Wainright, Yuta Watanabe, Freddie Gillespie, Sam Dekker, and Isaac Bonga are the five players believed to be fighting for spots on the 15-man squad. Toronto has 12 players with fully guaranteed salaries — assuming none of those players are traded or cut, there would be room on the roster for up to three players from that five-player group.
Here’s more on the Raptors:
- Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk said on Friday that he received interest in free agency from the Trail Blazers and Lakers before deciding to sign with the Raptors, per Eric Koreen of The Athletic (Twitter link). Mykhailiuk likes the opportunity he has to earn playing time and develop his game in Toronto.
- Former Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren is at the Raptors’ training camp as a consultant, tweets Koreen. Bjorkgren was an assistant on Nurse’s staff before being hired by Indiana.
- Raptors rookie Dalano Banton has been able to recognize two dreams this year — being selected in the NBA draft and joining his hometown team in Toronto. Lori Ewing of The Canadian Press (via The Toronto Star) has the story on the first Torontonian to be drafted by the Raptors.
- Doug Smith of The Toronto Star and Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca lay out what newly-acquired big man Precious Achiuwa can bring to the Raptors. The franchise is hoping that Achiuwa – who was the centerpiece of the Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade – can become a long-term cornerstone.