Jalen Harris

Raptors Notes: COVID Absences, Depth, Lowry, Harris

After playing without several key rotation players on Wednesday night vs. Detroit due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Raptors will be missing those same players on Thursday in Boston. As Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets, the club officially announced that Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Malachi Flynn, and Patrick McCaw remain in the protocols and have been ruled out for tonight’s game.

Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell, the only starters unaffected by the protocols, combined to score 57 points on 19-of-31 shooting on Wednesday, but the rest of the Raptors contributed just 48 total points on 15-of-46 shooting. Toronto will need more from its supporting cast on Thursday if the club hopes to knock off the Celtics.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • While any team would struggle without three of its starters, the Raptors’ blowout loss to the lowly Pistons on Wednesday shone a light on the team’s lack of reliable depth, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. The absences of key players provided a chance for one or two role part-timers to step up and make a case for more minutes, but no one really seized that opportunity, Grange adds.
  • There are compelling reasons both for and against trading Kyle Lowry at the deadline, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic, who explores the dilemma facing the Raptors and notes that the team is under pressure to get the decision right.
  • The Raptors have reassigned rookie guard Jalen Harris to the Raptors 905 at Walt Disney World after recalling him for Wednesday’s game, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Harris now should have a chance to clear the G League bubble’s quarantine protocols in time to play for Toronto’s affiliate in the NBAGL postseason tournament next week.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Smart, Thibodeau, Sixers, Rose

There are positive signs that the PistonsRaptors game in Tampa will be played on Wednesday but Toronto will have to go without three starters. Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby have been ruled out under the league’s health and safety protocols, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. Malachi Flynn and Patrick McCaw will also be sidelined by the protocols. Jalen Harris and Donta Hall have been recalled from the G League bubble in Orlando, Lewenberg adds.

A majority of the coaching staff, including head coach Nick Nurse, will also miss the game, Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets. Those coaches were placed under the protocols prior to the team’s game on Friday. Sergio Scariolo will once again run the team on Wednesday. The Raptors, who had their game against Chicago on Sunday postponed, were originally scheduled to face Detroit on Tuesday.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Marcus Smart is “getting a lot closer” to returning to action, according to Celtics coach Brad Stevens. Mark Murphy of the Boston Globe tweets that Smart will benefit from additional team practice time after the All-Star break. Smart has been out since January 30 due to a Grade 1 left calf strain.
  • Tom Thibodeau has established himself as a serious candidate for Coach of the Year in his first season with the Knicks, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Knicks players have been impressed with how hard the staff works and it has resulted in a winning record entering Tuesday’s game.
  • The Sixers have been given the go-ahead by the city of Philadelphia to bring back crowds in a limited capacity, the team tweets. The team will be allowed to have crowds at 15% capacity, or approximately 3,100 fans.
  • Knicks guard Derrick Rose missed the team’s game against San Antonio on Tuesday after being placed under the league’s health and safety protocols, the team’s PR department tweets.

Raptors Notes: Watanabe, Lowry, Drummond, G League

Raptors forward Yuta Watanabe has been able to eke out a consistent rotational role with Toronto this season, as Doug Smith of The Toronto Star details. Watanabe, who went undrafted in 2018 out of George Washington University, spent two seasons on a two-way deal with the Grizzlies before joining the Raptors at the start of the 2020/21 season. Watanabe is averaging 12.2 MPG with the club, converting 42.9% of his 1.6 three-point attempts.

All-Star teammate Kyle Lowry hailed the 6’9″ wing’s contributions: “He’s going to dive for loose balls, and he’s going to be at the right spot, and he’s going to give you everything (he’s) got. He just plays with an extreme hardness.”

Smith notes that Watanabe, currently on a two-way contract with Toronto, is likely to see his deal converted to a full NBA contract within the next month.

There’s more out of Toronto:

  • Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report wonders if Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry‘s charmed tenure with Toronto may be wrapping up soon. “There’s a time capsule for everybody and everything,” one Western Conference executive said, “and it’s probably just time to move on.” Lowry signed a one-year, $30.5MM extension with Toronto that will make him an unrestricted free agent at the end of the current 2020/21 season. Though he has been his reliably excellent self, the team has stumbled out of the gate to a 10-13 record and the No. 9 seed in the East. Fischer points to several teams who could benefit from the still-productive lead guard’s services this season, including the Heat, Clippers, Pelicans and Magic.
  • After the Raptors’ title-winning frontcourt tandem of Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol fled for championship-caliber rosters in sunny Los Angeles during the offseason, the club could still be mulling ways to fortify its center position. Sources tell The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor that the Raptors are among the teams interested in adding Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, currently earning $28.8MM this season on an expiring deal.
  • The Raptors are sending rookies Malachi Flynn and Jalen Harris to the NBAGL’s Orlando “bubble” campus to get some extended development this season. Doug Smith of The Toronto Star previews their upcoming adventure with Toronto’s G League affiliate, Raptors 905.

Atlantic Notes: Knox, Pelle, Shumpert, Raptors G League, Walker, Smart

Kevin Knox‘s playing time has continued to diminish and his future with the Knicks organization is murkier than ever, Marc Berman of the New York Post notes. The 2018 lottery pick never left the bench for the first time this season on Sunday. New York might look to deal Knox or even send him to Orlando to get some floor time with the G League’s Westchester Knicks. Knox’s rookie contract is guaranteed through next season.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets signed Norvel Pelle and Iman Shumpert to non-guaranteed contracts to get up to the league minimum for roster spots but they may not last long, John Hollinger of The Athletic speculates. With luxury tax issues, the Nets might open up those spots again as soon as February 10, then make the necessary additions when 10-day contracts are allowed on February 23. They could continue similar roster maneuvers right up to the March trade deadline, Hollinger adds.
  • Raptors 905 GM Chad Sanders is awaiting to hear the quarantine protocols regarding the shuttling of players between NBA teams and the G League bubble in Orlando, Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets. Two-way player Jalen Harris is already there but any additional assignments will hinge on those protocols, Murphy adds.
  • If the Celtics are truly going to contend for Eastern Conference supremacy this season, they’ll need more out of Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart, Mark Medina of USA Today opines. At least one of those guards has to develop into a more consistent threat to help out the duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Medina adds. Smart is currently sidelined by a calf strain.

Raptors Notes: Watanabe, Johnson, McCaw, Harris, 3-Point Shots

Yuta Watanabe and Stanley Johnson have emerged as key bench contributors for the Raptors, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star notes. “I think both (Watanabe) and Stanley have been doing a good job … when they check in to get our offense into another gear,” coach Nick Nurse said. Both players are trying to solidify the futures in the league. Johnson is headed to unrestricted free agency, while Watanabe is on a two-way deal.

We have more on the Raptors:

  • Patrick McCaw is showing some progress from his knee injury that has kept him out this season, Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets. McCaw participated in the non-contact portion of practice on Thursday. OG Anunoby (calf) and Norman Powell (quad) both missed Friday’s game against Sacramento.
  • Rookie guard Jalen Harris is joining Raptors 905 at the G League bubble in Orlando, Murphy adds in another tweet. The second-round pick from Nevada has appeared in two NBA games.
  • Toronto is on pace to take the second-most 3-pointers in league history and that may explain why the team is shooting fewer free throws, Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star notes. The Raptors were averaging 43.2 3-point attempts a game heading into Friday’s action but taking just 20.2 foul shots. The over-reliance on 3-point shots may help explain forward Pascal Siakam‘s slow start, Feschuk adds.

Raptors Sign Jalen Harris To Two-Way Deal, Re-Sign Oshae Brissett

The Raptors have officially filled out their training camp roster, having signed second-round pick Jalen Harris to a two-way contract and restricted free agent forward Oshae Brissett to a multiyear deal, per RealGM’s official log of NBA transactions.

Harris, who began his college career at Louisiana Tech, transferred to Nevada and had a huge year in 2019/20 as a junior, averaging 21.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 3.9 APG with a .446/.362/.823 shooting line in 30 games (33.0 MPG). The 22-year-old guard declared for the draft and was selected by the Raptors with the 59th overall pick. He’ll occupy one of the team’s two-way slots, while Paul Watson holds the other.

As for Brissett, he appeared in 19 games for the Raptors on a two-way contract as a rookie last season, playing mostly garbage-time minutes. The former Syracuse standout averaged 1.9 PPG and 1.4 RPG in 7.1 minutes per contest. In 30 G League games for the Raptors 905, he bumped those numbers to 14.9 PPG and 6.6 RPG in 27.8 MPG.

Brissett received a two-way qualifying offer from Toronto, but the two sides ended up negotiating a new standard contract instead — it’ll probably be a two-year deal worth the minimum salary. He’ll likely get a small partial guarantee in year one and will compete in training camp for a regular season roster spot, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic.

Brissett’s competitors for the 15th roster spot will be Henry Ellenson, Yuta Watanabe, and Alize Johnson. Their deals, which were reported on Friday, are all official now too, per RealGM.

LaMelo Ball Headlines List Of Draft Combine Participants

Potential No. 1 overall pick LaMelo Ball will be among the prospects participating in the revamped virtual draft combine this week, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Ball is scheduled to take part in team interviews and a media session this week, but may not participate in any other portion, Jeremy Woo of SI.com cautions (via Twitter).

While Ball’s participation might be limited, many of this year’s other top prospects aren’t taking part in the event at all. As Woo points out (via Twitter), Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, Obi Toppin, Onyeka Okongwu, Cole Anthony, Aaron Nesmith, Devin Vassell, and Saddiq Bey are among the players who don’t appear on the list of participants sent out by the NBA.

The list of top prospects besides Ball who will be participating in the event includes Precious Achiuwa, Deni Avdija, Tyrese Haliburton, RJ Hampton, Killian Hayes, Theo Maledon, and Isaac Okoro, among others.

Here’s the full list of combine participants, via Charania:

  1. Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis
  2. Ty-Shon Alexander, G, Creighton
  3. Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
  4. Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
  5. LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra Hawks (Australia)
  6. Desmond Bane, G, TCU
  7. Tyler Bey, F, Colorado
  8. Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
  9. Yoeli Childs, F, BYU
  10. Mamadi Diakite, F, Virginia
  11. Devon Dotson, G, Kansas
  12. Paul Eboua, F, VL Pesaro (Italy)
  13. CJ Elleby, F, Washington State
  14. Malachi Flynn, G, San Diego State
  15. Trent Forrest, G, Florida State
  16. Josh Green, G/F, Arizona
  17. Ashton Hagans, G, Kentucky
  18. Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
  19. Josh Hall, F, Moravian Prep
  20. RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers (New Zealand)
  21. Jalen Harris, G, Nevada
  22. Killian Hayes, G, Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany)
  23. Markus Howard, G, Marquette
  24. Elijah Hughes, G/F, Syracuse
  25. Isaiah Joe, G, Arkansas
  26. Mason Jones, G, Arkansas
  27. Tre Jones, G, Duke
  28. Nathan Knight, F/C, William & Mary
  29. Kira Lewis, G, Alabama
  30. Theo Maledon, G, ASVEL (France)
  31. Karim Mane, G, Vanier College (Canada)
  32. Nico Mannion, G, Arizona
  33. Naji Marshall, F, Xavier
  34. Kenyon Martin Jr., F, IMG Academy
  35. Skylar Mays, G, LSU
  36. Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
  37. Sam Merrill, G, Utah State
  38. Zeke Nnaji, F, Arizona
  39. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville
  40. Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn
  41. Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
  42. Reggie Perry, F, Mississippi State
  43. Myles Powell, G, Seton Hall
  44. Payton Pritchard, G, Oregon
  45. Immanuel Quickley, G, Kentucky
  46. Jahmi’us Ramsey, G, Texas Tech
  47. Paul Reed, F, DePaul
  48. Nick Richards, F/C, Kentucky
  49. Grant Riller, G, Charleston
  50. Jay Scrubb, G, John A. Logan College
  51. Jalen Smith, F, Maryland
  52. Cassius Stanley, G, Duke
  53. Lamar Stevens, F, Penn State
  54. Isaiah Stewart, F/C, Washington
  55. Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford
  56. Xavier Tillman, F/C, Michigan State
  57. Kaleb Wesson, F/C, Ohio State
  58. Kahlil Whitney, F, Kentucky
  59. Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State
  60. Robert Woodard II, F, Mississippi State

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is unable to hold its typical in-person draft combine this year, but the league has put together an alternative combine that will feature interviews through videoconferencing as well as the making of “pro day” videos, which will include strength and agility testing, anthropometric measurements, and shooting drills. Participants will also undergo medical testing and exams.

For more details on this year’s combine, be sure to check out our full story on the changes.

Draft Updates: J. Harris, Watson, Wiseman

Nevada guard Jalen Harris, who declared for the draft before April’s early entry deadline, has decided to keep his name in the 2020 pool and go pro, according to his father (Twitter link via Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports). Harris published a tweet of his own saying goodbye to Reno and indicating that he’s ready for his “next chapter.”

Harris, who began his college career at Louisiana Tech, transferred to Nevada and had a huge year in 2019/20 as a junior, averaging 21.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 3.9 APG with a .446/.362/.823 shooting line in 30 games (33.0 MPG). He’s not a lock to be drafted, but should be in the second-round mix, ranking 60th on SI.com’s big board and 85th on ESPN’s top-100 list.

Here’s more on the 2020 NBA draft:

  • Dayton guard Ibi Watson has decided to withdraw from the draft and will return to school for his senior season, he tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Watson elected to test the draft waters this spring after averaging 10.1 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 31 games (22.5 MPG) off the bench for the Flyers as a junior.
  • After Jeff Goodman of Stadium polled 35 NBA evaluators and found that 20 picked James Wiseman as the top prospect in the 2020 class, Goodman asked Wiseman for his reaction. The former Memphis Tigers big man stressed that he’s not concerned about whether or not he’s picked first overall, adding that his focus is on continuing to improve as a player, regardless of where he’s drafted (video link).
  • In case you missed it, our Thursday poll focused on whether Wiseman or another player is the best prospect in the 2020 NBA draft.

Draft Notes: Nuggets, J. Harris, Hawks

The Nuggets‘ acquired a first-round pick from the Rockets in the four-team, 12-player deal that sent Malik Beasley to the Wolves. That pick is currently slated to be the No. 21 overall selection and Mike Singer of the Denver Post examines five prospects the team could take at that spot in the first round.

Florida State guard Devin Vassell and Villanova forward Saddiq Bey are among the more intriguing options, in Singer’s view. Both players have range and could provide the Nuggets with depth, something that might be needed if Paul Millsap or Jerami Grant (player option) departs in free agency.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft: