The NBA G League season tips off in less than two weeks. It’s a jam-packed one month schedule with 18 teams playing 15 games for G League supremacy.
Here are five reasons Toronto Raptors fans will want to pay attention to the Raptors 905 and the G League season.
1: Raptors 905 Development
Every year the 905 seems to churn out a Raptors rotational player. From Pascal Siakam to Fred VanVleet and Chris Boucher, the success rate of the 905 has been staggering over the past few seasons. While some organizations can just dismiss their G League team as an irrelevant minor-league team, Raptors fans should know by now the 905 are anything but irrelevant.
2: Jalen Harris
Raptors second-round pick Jalen Harris is the young gun on the team and if you’ve spent any time watching his college tape from Nevada you probably know he’s a dynamic offensive scorer.
“He’s a guy who’s a good athlete, he’s got really good pace to his game, he can score and he’s athletic enough to keep guys in front of him, which is very important in our defensive philosophy,” Raptors 905 coach Patrick Mutombo said.
3: Nik Stauskas
Canadian Nik Stauskas will make is joining his hometown team as the 905’s designated veteran. At 27 years old, he’s the elder statesmen of the group and will be tasked with leading the young group. But don’t let his age fool you, he’s starving to get back to the NBA level.
“I’ll be the first to say that there was a number of times over my five years in the NBA where I truly took that position for granted,” he said Monday. “Only 450 jobs in the world and just sometimes going through personal struggles or not playing as well as I wanted to, I took it for granted, I really didn’t cherish those moments. … And I just think the last couple years for me have just given me a different perspective.”
Stauskas hasn’t ever lived up to his 8th overall NBA Draft expectations, but if any organization can get the best out of the former Michigan sharpshooter it’s the Toronto Raptors.
Stauskas isn’t the only Canadian getting reps in the G League this season. The 905 are scheduled to play former Raptor and Torontonian Oshae Brissett on February 21, Halifax’s Nate Darling on February 26, Oakville’s Ignas Brazdeikis on February 27, and Montreal’s Karim Mane on March 3 among many others.
With so much uncertainty this season due to the pandemic, it might not be long before some of these Canadians get a shot at the NBA level.
5: G League Ignite
The NBA has opened the G League doors to NBA Draft prospects straight out of high school. It’s a brand new team comprised of first-round draft prospects including Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, and Daishen Nix along with savvy veterans like former Raptor Amir Johnson. The eyes of the basketball world will certainly be on these prospects to see how the league’s newest team adapts to life with the pros.
“I think it’s great that the G League has presented this opportunity for these kids coming out of high school and given them an alternative route instead of going to college,” Stauskas said. “I think it’ll be a cool experience for them, but also for us, I’m looking forward to seeing the kinda talent level that team has and what kinda young prospects they’re dealing with.”
Raptors 905 Opener
The Raptors 905 will tip-off their schedule on February 10 against the Rio Grande Vipers.