The Toronto Raptors haven’t done a ton of winning this season, but Raptors 905 streaked out to the best record in the G League bubble before crashing out in the postseason. Behind the rebounding of young studs like Alize Johnson and Donta Hall as well as the perimeter play of Gary Payton II, 905 looked unstoppable at times.
With the Raptors in need of some reinforcements on the interior, one of the few G League call-ups they made this season was signing big man Henry Ellenson, who played in a few meaningless games before failing to earn another contract with Toronto.
As odd as it sounds, other NBA have been benefitting from 905’s fantastic season more than the Raptors. The Orlando Magic, fresh off of waiving Raptors center Khem Birch, signed Hall to a 10-Day contract, while Payton, who won G League Defensive Player of the Year, received a call-up with the Golden State Warriors.
Despite the fact that his rebounding would’ve been ideal for a Raptors team that ranks among the league’s worst in that department, Alize Johnson didn’t get a contract with the Raptors. Instead, he signed with the rival Brooklyn Nets, who gave Johnson a multi-year deal worth up to $4.1 million.
The Toronto Raptors need to call up more Raptors 905 players
This team turned Fred VanVleet and Chris Boucher from undrafted free agents into two of the most underrated players in the league at their positions. Rather than give the next VanVleet or Boucher some chances, the Raptors have only made their rivals stronger by allowing Johnson, Payton, and Hall to play elsewhere.
Developing bench players for someone else because this roster is packed to the brim with underperforming reserves is not a recipe for success. Johnson might not have made a huge difference, but they might have an extra win and new backup center if they chose him over Ellenson.
The Raptors don’t have a ton of room to promote players on two-way deals given the presence of Jalen Harris and Yuta Watanabe, but the former isn’t exactly doing a ton to cement his place with the Raptors.
Perhaps waiving an underperforming player or two and either signing one of these studs to a pro deal or converting Watanabe’s contract into a proper NBA could get the Raptors some new blood from their minor league affiliate.
The Raptors have built this current roster on the backs of a few 905 projects. Rather than scouring the free-agent market for short-term Band-Aids, Ujiri and Bobby Webster need to remember they have one of the best development and coaching programs in the league, as giving 905 stars more chances has proven to be a successful formula.