The Toronto Raptors made one of the more underrated acquisitions of the second half of the season when they turned Freddie Gillespie from a 10-day contract unknown into a viable backup big man for next year. The Raptors apparently like Baylor so much that they are going after another former Bear in Ishmail Wainright.
Wainright graduated before he could help Baylor take home a championship, but he was an invaluable member of Scott Drew’s rotation over his last few years, as he started almost every game for two straight seasons.
The NBA didn’t give him much of a chance after he left college, and he chose to make a name for himself in France with SIG Strasbourg. He impressed enough of the right people over there to earn himself another crack at the NBA, and the Raptors may give him the platform to really take over.
Per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, Wainright is coming over to the NBA next season, and the Raptors are the front runners in the race to sign him. He averaged 11.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game during his time in France, and has had some impressive performances for the Ugandan national team.
Will Ishmail Wainright come to the Toronto Raptors?
Wainright is not going to be an elite scorer, as he never scored more than 5.9 points per game in college. However, with 5.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.7 steals per game during his final year in Waco, Wainright has found other ways to impact the game. An All-Defensive team selection in college, Wainright has seemingly improved his offense in France.
Wainright has an unusual built for a small forward, as his 6-5 frame is accentuated by a body that was listed at 250 pounds in college. He even caught two touchdown passes as a member of Baylor’s football team before concentrating on basketball full-time.
The 26-year-old is never going to be an above-average scorer at the NBA level, but someone with his build and ability to guard multiple positions on the defensive end has value both in the G League and, potentially, at the NBA level. His wingspan could make him an oversized small forward, but he could take some reps at power forward due to his bulk.
Wainright’s meal ticket to the NBA will be his defense and versatility, and both of those phrases are catnip for Masai Ujiri and this front office. he won’t stick around if he doesn’t keep improving his offensive game, but there is more than enough to like in Gillespie’s former teammate to warrant a shot at making the Raptors.