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Toronto Raptors Summer League Preview

Photo Credit: Toronto Raptors/Twitter

After almost three months without Raptors basketball, fans will finally get to see some familiar faces hit the court when the NBA Summer League tips off on Sunday.

While the league’s off-season tournament lacks the star-power and excitement of the real season, it’s a chance to see the future of the league in action. Fans from around the NBA will tune in to see the 2021 Draft’s lottery picks, including the newest Raptor, Scottie Barnes.

With the team going through a transitional period after the departure of star guard Kyle Lowry, the Toronto faithful are sure to be anxiously following the rest of free agency. Take a break from the uncertainty of the off-season and get hyped for the Summer League, starting with our preview!

The Squad

Toronto’s 15-man Summer League roster, officially unveiled on Thursday, features a mix of some experience and some fresh faces.

Raptors’ fans who followed the team last season will recognize fan-favourites Malachi Flynn, Freddie Gillespie and Yuta Watanabe, each of whom appeared prominently during the 2020-2021 campaign. Playing in the Summer League will surely serve as valuable experience for second-year players Flynn and Gillespie, as increased minutes and reps would undoubtedly boost their confidence prior to next season.

The fourth-overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft, Scottie Barnes out of Florida State, will get his first minutes as a Raptor in Vegas, where he’ll certainly receive a lot of attention. 2021 second round picks Dalano Banton and David Johnson will look to take this opportunity to make a solid first impression on Toronto’s front office.

Free-agent signing Ishmail Wainwright will try to prove he belongs in the NBA after playing overseas since graduating from Baylor in 2017. The 26 year-old played tight-end for the Baylor Bears football team as well during his four years in college.

Two Toronto natives, Dalano Banton and Isiaha Mike, will be the Canadian representatives for the Raps’ Summer League squad. Banton grew up in Rexdale before moving to Massachusetts to play in prep school. Mike was raised in Scarborough, where he attended West Hill Collegiate Institute, before transferring to Trinity International School in Las Vegas.

The team will be coached by Patrick Mutombo, head coach of the Raptors 905. Mutombo joined the Toronto Raptors as an assistant coach in 2016, and was named head coach of their G-League affiliate in 2020.

The Tournament

All 30 NBA teams will be participating in the Summer League, with each playing a total of five games. The top two teams based on win percentage will advance to a championship game. Every other team will participate in a consolation game following the four scheduled games.

Toronto will get their tournament started on Sunday at 4:30PM EST against the New York Knicks. They’ll follow it up with a game against the Golden State Warriors (8PM EST) on Wednesday, a date with the Rockets on Thursday (8PM EST) and an encounter with the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday (7PM EST). If they win all or most of their games, they’ll have a shot at appearing in the championship game to be held on Tuesday, August 17th.

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