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NBA Toronto Raptors 905 Bruno Caboclo

Bruno Caboclo Breaks Out With The Raptors 905

Bruno Caboclo recorded an NBA Development League career high 31 points en route to a 136-105 Raptors 905 win over the Grand Rapids Drive Monday night at the DeltaPlex Arena in Walker, Michigan. Caboclo led all scorers as he shot 12-20 from the field and knocked down 3 triples to go with his 7 rebounds and career best 5 steals.

 

 

It’s been a productive season for the young forward in the D-League. In 35 games Caboclo has averaged 33.7 minutes, 14.4 points, 12.9 field goal attempts, 6.8 three-point attempts, 6.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.6 blocks.

“I feel more comfortable,” Caboclo told Pro Bball Report earlier this season. “We have more freedom in the D-League. (Head coach) Jesse (Mermuys) gives (me) a lot of opportunities there. I am trying to do my work, find out what I need to do, so I can improve.”

“(Caboclo) needs playing experience,” Mermuys confirmed. “He needs minutes and he needs us as a coaching staff to help him every single day and be able to live with some mistakes and growing pains.”

Caboclo was drafted 20th overall in 2014 by the Toronto Raptors as a project player with the intention of sending him immediately to the D-League. Unfortunately the Raptors plans to acquire a D-League franchise that summer fell thru and it was largely a lost season for the young forward. These break out games this year with the 905 are very important in helping Caboclo show what he might be capable of in the future.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 


Canadian Jordan Bachynski

Canadian Jordan Bachynski Leads Knicks Over Raptors 905

Canadian Jordan Bachynski had a game-high 24 points to lead the Westchester Knicks to a 103-98 win over Raptors 905 Saturday afternoon at Hershey Centre in Mississauga.

Leading Westchester in scoring were Bachynski (24), Cleanthony Early (18), Jimmer Fredette (17), Travis Trice II (12) and Keith Wright (10). Bachynski and Wright each collected double-doubles with 12 and 10 rebounds, respectively, while Fredette also completed a double-double with 11 assists. Scoring in double digits for Raptors 905 were Scott Suggs (23), Davion Berry (21), E.J. Singler (16), Shannon Scott (14) and Sim Bhullar (11).

Bachynski also gave the 905 trouble two days ago in Westchester when he posted a double-double.

The 7’2 center has averaged 12.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 46 games for Westchester this season.

 

 

 


NBA D-League Mississauga Raptors 905 DeAndre Daniels

NBA Prospect DeAndre Daniels Struggling With Raptors 905

The Toronto Raptors unsigned second round draft pick DeAndre Daniels has been struggling to find his game with the Raptors 905 in Mississauga. Daniels missed the 2015 NBA Summer League due to a Jones fracture in his right foot and he only recently returned to limited action with the Raptors NBA D-League affiliate.

It’s been five games since he first starting playing basketball again and the results suggest we shouldn’t be expecting too much before Summer League rolls around again in July. In his first four games, the 23-year-old forward only managed to average 11.3 minutes, 3 points and 3.3 rebounds. Then playing in his fifth game at the Hersey Center on Saturday, nothing really changed as he went 1-6 from the field for 3 points and 5 boards in 16 minutes.

This season has been a big setback for Daniels who played 30 games with the Perth Wildcats in Australia last year and averaged 14.8 points and 7.7 rebounds in 30.7 minutes, but at least he got back on the court before it was over.

Daniels is a 6’8 forward drafted by the Raptors 37th overall in 2014 who played three seasons with the Connecticut Huskies.

 

 


NBA Toronto Raptors Bruno Caboclo

Bruno Caboclo Is Learning Fast With Raptors 905

Bruno Caboclo is most famously known as being “two years away from being two years away,” but that was before Toronto had their own NBA D-League affiliate. Last year Caboclo had a terrible experience with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, but this year he’s been learning fast with the Mississauga Raptors 905. Pro Bball Report caught up with Caboclo at the Air Canada Centre recently and just maybe the 905 has put those first two years in the rearview mirror for Caboclo.

“The Mad Ants wasn’t a team from the Raptors, so they were focused on other guys, but here they are more focused on us and we can develop our game,” Caboclo said.

Last week we got a taste of just how far that development has come.

 

 

Caboclo scored 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against the D-League team that pretty much refused to play him last season. He shot 10-17 from the field and dropped 5-7 three-pointers. It was a game indicative of just how far he has progressed over this season.

With the 905 Caboclo gets to play, whether he’s having a good game or not. He has averaged 33.4 minutes, 14.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, a steal and 1.6 blocks in 30 games. His shooting has improved over the season to 44.8 percent from two-point range and 34.7 percent from three-point range (and those numbers were pretty terrible at the start of the season.) It’s been exactly what he’s needed to develop his game.

“I feel more comfortable,” Caboclo said. “We have more freedom in the D-League. (Head coach) Jesse (Mermuys) gives (me) a lot of opportunities there. I am trying to do my work, find out what I need to do, so I can improve.

“I always play(ed) on the outside, but now I have more opportunities. (It is) easier close to the basket, in the paint. Open shots are easy too, but it depends on the situation. Who is guarding you, if they are a good defender.

“I feel more comfortable playing small forward because I haven’t played much at power forward, but I am getting used to it now and I feel better at both small forward and power forward.

“If you are able to play at other (positions) it is better for you, you can get have more (of a) chance.”

Caboclo may have lost a year because the Raptors didn’t have their own D-League affiliate (as planned) last season, but this was never a short term project. Raptors president and general manager Masai Ujiri admittedly swung for the fences by taking Caboclo with the 20th overall draft pick two summers ago.

“It is going to take Bruno a little while,” Ujiri said after the 2014 draft. “I’m sure when you see him you’ll feel the excitement that we feel having a young player like that – that loves to work, is a basketball junkie, just loves to play basketball all day. I think that will be fun for our team, another young player like that. A 6’9 wing with a 7’ 6.5” wingspan, shoots the ball with good confidence. (He) needs to gain weight, there is some good upside there. In the 20s, he is a good risk to take.”

“(Caboclo) needs playing experience,” Mermuys told Pro Bball Report earlier this season. “He needs minutes and he needs us as a coaching staff to help him every single day and be able to live with some mistakes and growing pains.”

The big Brazilian kid won’t be 21-years-old until September, but he’s put on some weight since he was drafted and remains a physical specimen in terms of height and length. Add an improving shooting stroke and it’s still easy to project/imagine Caboclo as an impact NBA player at some point. The best news is Caboclo really is learning fast with the 905 and the improvement is obvious.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

 

NBA D-League Mississauga Raptors 905 Greg Smith

Raptors 905 Loses Greg Smith To The Timberwolves

Another one bites the dust. Raptors 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys must be doing a really good job as his team has just lost another player to the NBA. Center Greg Smith is being called up to the Minnesota Timberwolves on a 10 day contract.

The Raptors 905 had just found out Axel Toupane is heading to the Denver Nuggets on a 10 day contract to make this the second player about to leave for nothing on the same day.

Smith has played in parts of the last four NBA seasons with Houston and Dallas totaling 131 games. He has averaged 4.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in 12.5 minutes over that period.

With the 905 this season, the 25-year-old Smith has averaged 12.6 points, 8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals in 27.6 minutes over 17 games.

 

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

NBA D-League Mississauga Raptors 905 Axel Toupane

Raptors 905 Losing Axel Toupane To The Denver Nuggets

The Toronto Raptors liked undrafted Axel Toupane enough to give him a training camp invite, some guaranteed money and a spot on their NBA D-League affiliate Mississauga Raptors 905. They saw the potential in the 6’7 wing from France, invested the time and money into developing him and now they may lose him for nothing as the Denver Nuggets call him up to the NBA on a 10 day contract.

The Raptors knew the risks associated with developing players in the 905, NBA teams hold no rights to players in the D-League who are not part of their 15 man NBA roster, but this still has to hurt. Toupane didn’t look like a guy who be playing in the NBA anytime soon when he got here.

The big wing only played in two very forgettable preseason games with the Raptors, totaling 21.5 minutes and shooting 0-2 from the field to collect 0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 personal fouls.

His first month with the Mississauga Raptors 905 didn’t exactly lead one to believe he’d be NBA bound now either. Those first three games in November saw him shooting 29.3 percent from the field and 21.4 percent from three-point range. He looked overmatched and not quite ready here as well.

Things started to change by December and in January he put out some big time efforts that earned him a shot at the next level.

A 25 point and 10 assist night against the Vipers in early January likely caught someone’s attention,

Then a couple of 30 point nights against the BayHawks suggested he was taking his game up another notch,

In January, Toupane averaged 17.5 points on 43.6 percent shooting, 5.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.6 steals in 33.8 minutes over 11 games. His numbers are down a bit in February, but in his last game he scored 23 points on 6-8 shooting.

Toupane has the look of an NBA prospect. Hopefully he gets some minutes in Denver to see if he’s got the potential to be an NBA player.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

NBA D-League Mississauga Raptors 905 Sim Bhullar & Axel Toupane

7’5 Canadian Sim Bhullar Breaks Out With The Raptors 905

When you are 7’5, professional basketball teams tend to take notice and the giant Canadian big man Sim Bhullar is going to get a lot of chances to make it to the NBA. This year those chances started with a new commitment to his sport playing as close to home as possible with the Mississauga Raptors 905 NBA Development League team.

Being that big has meant Bhullar never really had to worry about his conditioning in college, but just being unimaginably huge isn’t enough to cut it at the next level and this year he finally started to take things seriously. His ability to stay on the court in a faster paced game didn’t happen overnight, but in the five games since the D-League All-Star break Bhullar has been averaging 33.6 minutes, 17.4 points on 70.2 percent shooting, 13 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.4 blocks.

“I am playing so much better than I was earlier in the year,” Bhullar said. “Taking the time off and becoming a better player, doing the right things off the court and I think that’s really affecting my game and I am playing a lot better now.”

Bhullar came into the Mississauga 905 training camp focused on getting into better shape. His new team set down rules and expectations and Bhullar didn’t even travel with the club early in the season so he could concentrate on his training.

“This organization means business,” Raptors 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys said. “We brought him here and we had conditions in place with his agent, with Canada Basketball and we are not going to be lax on that. We are committed to the process and I’m sure it was tough, but we are not really going to let up until he gets to where he needs to be.”

“I kind of have to get the college mindset out,” Bhullar explained prior to the start of the season. “I stopped eating junk food and stuff like that. I kind of grew up a little bit and now I am on a good diet and got rid of the bad habits and it’s been good so far.”

The process has been paying off. Bhullar only played in nine games in his first two months with the 905, averaging about 13 minutes, 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds as he just wasn’t in any condition to play. Mermuys had to restrict Bhullar to shifts that were no longer than about 3 minutes as his center was gasping for air after just a few trips up and down the court. It wasn’t your typical approach to player development, but it’s never been about his skills that coaches have worried about.

“It gives me time to refresh myself and I know Coach is going to put me right back into the game,” Bhullar said at the time. “So, it’s just go in there and work your hardest and get on the bench and get some water and get some rest and get right ready to go right back in there.”

Mermuys started ramping up Bhullar’s number of games and minutes in January as the center played in 10 games, started 5 and averaged about 19 minutes, those minutes increasing as the month rolled along to over 24 minutes per game in the last 5 games of the month.

Bhullar’s opportunity to play an even bigger role came towards the end of January when NBA D-League top-ranked ranked prospect Ronald Roberts Jr. was sidelined with a right knee strain.

Roberts was averaging 18.1 points and 12.1 rebounds for Mermuys and the 905 coach suddenly needed someone to pick up the slack and Bhullar was tagged with the job. Since the All-Star break, Bhullar has done just that.

 

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

NBA D-League Raptors 905 John Jordan

Raptors 905 Guard John Jordan Wins Slam Dunk Contest

Mississauga Raptors 905 5’10 guard Johns Jordan soared high in the air to pound in three perfect dunks on route to winning the NBA D-League Slam Dunk contest at NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto.

A bounce pass to himself for the behind the back slam, followed by bounce pass to himself for the two-handed windmill and then a pass off the backboard for the reverse windmill wowed the judges for three perfect scores. His final dunk was a spinning jam that secured the victory.

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors 905 Delon Wright

Rookie Delon Wright Is Proving Raptors 905 Works

By Frank McLean

The Toronto Raptors invested heavily into their NBA D-League team Raptors 905 for one reason and one reason only and that’s to properly develop their draft picks.

After having to send players in the past to NBDL teams in which they had no control over how their players were developed or who the coach was, the Raptors now have that ability with 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys. Mermuys coaches the Raptors draft picks the exact same way Dwane Casey runs the show at the Air Canada Centre with the idea that players can slip right in and help the Raptors in a pinch.

This is exactly how it has worked for Raptors first round pick Delon Wright.

Wright, a guard, was the 20th overall pick in last June’s draft after spending two years with the University of Utah of the Pacific-12 Conference.

It’s easy to find gems in the draft when you have a lottery pick, the first five-to-ten picks in the first round are usually someone who can help somewhat right away. It’s those later picks where you get someone who you know is good but needs to develop their game.

On draft night Dwane Casey was very happy to get a player of Wright’s ability at the 20th spot.

“We watched a lot of film on him, ” Casey said. “Our scouts watched him intensely. He’s one of the top point guards in the draft.

“He has tremendous upside as a point guard. He reminds me of Nate MacMillan, a guy we had in Seattle who can play multiple positions.”

Wright has worn out a path driving between the Air Canada Centre and suburban Mississauga where 905’s play.

In 12 games in the D-league he has averaged 37 minutes per game, 18 points, five rebounds and seven assists. The numbers show that the potential Raptors scouting director and 905 general manager Dan Tolzman saw in him when he was beating bushes for talent in the NCAA last winter.

“Delon’s play is very solid,” Mermuys said echoing what Casey said on draft night. “I just think because he has a lot of expectations out of this organization where they are fans of his ability as a player, what we see for him in the future it’s probably going to be rare for me to come out here applauding his game, his effort just because we have extremely high expectations. I’m always going to be wanting more.”

When you talk to Wright he is an extremely soft spoken person, very polite and did not come to Toronto with an attitude. He is a rookie that knows the protocol when you come to the NBA is to keep quiet and just observe. His older brother Dorell was selected in the draft out of high school by the Miami Heat and also played with the Portland Trail Blazers, so Delon knew the drill of NBA life before he ever got there.

Wright also knows he is the NBDL for a reason and when you talk to him he is embracing it.

“I think they have me down here for a reason to help my career and try to figure out how to be better,” Wright said. “I’m working on my ball screens and to be a better leader.”

Other Raptors players have gone down to the 905 squad and have been called back to big team and have made contributions like Lucas Nogueira. That has not been lost on Wright.

“When you see a guy like Lucas, he’s been here for two years and he gets a chance to go up and play with the Raptors, I have got be ready when I get my chance,” Wright added.

The Wright selection in draft gives the Raptors insurance at the guard position. He is fourth on the depth chart behind DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and Cory Joseph.

DeRozan is expected to opt out of his contract this summer and it’s expected the Raptors will make an offer to keep him. It’s a no brainer, but strange things happen in sports and if DeRozan does not return to Toronto, and I’m only speculating and I don’t expect that to happen, but if he doesn’t, Wright moves up the depth chart.

He can also be used as trade bait if the Raptors so see fit if they feel they are one player away from being a championship contender.

Either way the Raptors have plans for Wright and their program with the Raptors 905 is getting him ready for prime time.

 

 

Frank McLean - small sizeVeteran journalist Frank McLean has covered nearly every Raptors game in Toronto since their inaugural season at the Skydome back in 1995-96. He has seen it all. The good, the bad and the really bad and he is one of the very few journalists in Toronto that has kept coming back for more.

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors Ronald Roberts Jr.

Should Raptors Make Room For Ronald Roberts Jr.

When the Toronto Raptors invited forward Ronald Roberts Jr. to training camp he was the odds-on favorite to win the 15th and final spot on the roster. The Raptors had guaranteed him $75,000 for showing up, but then Canadian forward Anthony Bennett was signed and Roberts was destined to play for the Mississauga Raptors 905.

It wasn’t anything Roberts had done or not done. He looked good in preseason. There just wasn’t an open spot for him on the roster. However, Toronto wasn’t wrong to be interested in this very athletic forward. As the best player on the 905, he’s worked his way up to second place on the NBA D-League Prospect Watch List.

NBA D-League Raptors 905 Ronald Roberts Jr

At some point in the near future, the Raptors are going to have to make a decision. Either they make room for their prospect in Toronto or Roberts is going to get called up from the D-League by another NBA team and they could lose him for nothing.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, Roberts has been a player to watch since he went undrafted in 2014.

Draft Express, L.A. Clippers Mini-Combine Recap and Analysis

Roberts proved to be the best athlete at the workout, and possibly one of the best athletes in the entire draft, finishing a monster dunk after ripping baseline from the short corner.

Roberts has potential, however, due to his freakish athleticism and nice frame. He’s another player a few NBA teams would like to get on their D-League team to see if they can develop his skill-level a bit and improve his rebounding technique.

In the D-League, Roberts has gone from a suspect rebounder at St. Joseph’s to a beast on the boards. He’s even starting to develop a jump shot. With the 905 this season, he’s averaging 18.7 points on 61.2 percent shooting, 12.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks playing at the power forward and center spots.

The rationale for the Raptors to consider making room for him with the big club is solid. He went through training camp with the team and 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys is running the same plays as Raptors head coach Dwane Casey. Roberts won’t be lost stepping into practices at the Air Canada Centre.

“It’s pretty much the same,” Roberts told Pro Bball Report earlier this season. “They try to implement the same rules and different schemes defensively and offensively has the same sets and stuff. It’s pretty much the same (as in Toronto). Obviously, the competition in the NBA is way better, but I would say that would be the major difference. As far as coaching, I would say everything is pretty much the same.”

While he is still a work in progress, he is an energy guy and that is something that often translates to the next level while the skills catch up.

“I play with great energy,” Roberts said. “I try to rebound, finish, shoot an open jumper and try to drive by a guy if I’m playing the four or try to post up a guy if I’m playing the five. I’m pretty interchangeable. I’ve just got to look at my match-up and see what I feel I can do best against him whether it’s on the perimeter or down low.”

There is no denying how good Roberts has looked at the Development League level. The Raptors have decisions to make.

 

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

 

NBA D-League Westchester Knicks Jimmer Fredette

Jimmer Fredette Alive And Well With The Westchester Knicks

By Frank McLean

The thing I have learned about having an NBA-DL team in my neighbourhood is that the opponents might bring someone who you would put in the where are they now category.

Saturday night I made my way to Hershey Centre in Mississauga to see the Raptors 905 take on the Westchester Knicks who brought Jimmer Fredette with them. – “Jimmer”

Back in 2011 Jimmer was the hottest thing in Division One NCAA college basketball with Brigham Young University. His senior year was magical at best.

In 37 games that season, which included making it as far as the Sweet-16 of the NCAA tournament where BYU lost to Florida, Fredette averaged 35.8-minutes a game and led all of Division One with an average 28.9 points per game.

He was a legend at BYU. His name became a verb. If he had a game where he scored a ton of points BYU fans would chant “YOU GOT JIMMERED”! It all started when BYU appeared in a nationally televised game against San Diego State where he dropped 43 points and instantly became a national celebrity.

He was named First Team All-American and was a first round pick, 10th overall, by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2011 NBA draft. The Bucks would then trade him to the Sacramento Kings in a three way deal which also involved the Charlotte Bobcats.

In Sacramento “JIMMERMANIA” became the rage.

Sales of his jersey resulted in a 540-percent increase in merchandise sales involving the Kings. His number seven Kings jersey sold out in stores in the Sacramento area, as well as online, but by February 2014, the Kings had bought out Jimmer’s contract.

Fredette’s NBA journey would see him sign with the Chicago Bulls for the rest of that season and spend 2014-15 with the New Orleans Pelicans. Then on October 31st, Fredette was selected second overall by the Westchester Knicks in the NBA Development League draft.

For nine days in November Fredette was brought back by the Pelicans to help the team deal with numerous injuries. The Pelicans used an NBA hardship exemption in order to sign him as he made their roster stand at 16 players, one over the allowed limit of 15.

However, the knock on Fredette has been he was just a shooter and not much else. Defense has not been a big part of his game. His NBA stats line has him averaging only 13.5 minutes and six points a game.

Westchester is one of the top teams in the NBA-DL loop this season. After losing to the Raptors 905 on Saturday night their record dropped to 14-10, but that is still good enough to lead the Atlantic Division.

Fredette is putting up numbers and is a main cog in their success. He is playing an average of 37 minutes a night and averaging 23 points a game. When I talked to him after Saturday’s game, I found a 26-year-old with a big smile on his face and a terrific attitude even though he is toiling in a bus league.

“I’m just getting an opportunity to go out and play,” Fredette said. “I’m trying to help the team as much as I can and show people I can play and still try and get better. That’s what this is, having a good time, enjoying the guys and just playing.”

Fredette did get to spend the preseason trying out with the San Antonio Spurs and playing for Greg Popovich which was a positive experience. He was cut by the Spurs and when Popovich released him he was very positive in his critique of Fredette.

Popovich told Fredette that he did a good job and it wasn’t anything that he did wrong and that he was cut because they were looking for a bigger wing.

“I gave an effort,” Fredette said. “I got better as a player. I’m a professional and I’m excited looking forward.”

Walking away after the interview you could not help but like Fredette, the guy is just positive. At 26-years of age, the cut-throat world of professional basketball has not killed his youthful zeal for the sport.

I hope he gets one more shot at the NBA. I hate to see this guy become basketball’s version Tim Tebow, a Heisman Trophy winner as the best player in NCAA football and a bust as a professional.

 

 

Frank McLean - small sizeVeteran journalist Frank McLean has covered nearly every Raptors game in Toronto since their inaugural season at the Skydome back in 1995-96. He has seen it all. The good, the bad and the really bad and he is one of the very few journalists in Toronto that has kept coming back for more.

 

 

Canadian Jordan Bachynski

Canadian Jordan Bachynski Having A Big Time Year

Canadian center Jordan Bachynski was a shot blocking machine as a senior at Arizona State in 2013-14, but that wasn’t enough to get him drafted that summer by the NBA. He’s big, a legit 7’2 250 lbs and he’s outgoing, friendly and coachable, however, he was almost 25-years-old heading into the draft. Bachynski ended up signing with the NBA D-League Westchester Knicks last season. A year later and the big Canadian was ready to show his stuff.

“At the beginning of this year my coaches really encouraged me to run because I run very well for my size,” Bachynski told Pro Bball Report. “So, that’s been a huge focus for me to run the floor and get ahead of guys because I’m a lot faster than a lot of the bigs out there and even if I don’t get the ball, what happens is opponents see they have to come and guard me and it opens up so much for us.

“Every possession I’m working at running and I put a lot of time in the weight room and gained a lot of weight and I’m keeping it on and feeling strong and feeling good.”

Just from appearances, Bachynski looks in better shape than he did coming out of college and the weight gain is backed up by official (unbiased) measurements. He weighed 254 lbs at the NBA Draft Combine in 2014 and upped that to 265 lbs at the D-League Elite Camp heading into this season. Although he seems more focused on speed rather than strength.

“Any way I can help my team,” Bachynski said. “One of the ways I do is to sprint down and make those wings, those guards guard me and I get deep post position or it makes my guards open for three on the wing.”

Bachynski is one of the returning players from the Westchester Knicks initial season and the New York Knicks have set this program up right. The Knicks are looking to develop players and build those bonds so players they don’t have the ability to hang on to don’t want to leave for another team.

“The Westchester Knicks do a great job taking care of us,” Bachynski said. “We have a really great setup. It’s one of if not the best setup in the D-League. We practice in the Knicks facility. We have a full-time athletic trainer so any bumps or bruises we get we have someone to take care of us. We have top-notch housing and on top of that our coaches here, he’s a phenomenal coach. I love playing for him. I am happy I’m with Westchester.”

Remembering the D in D-League stands for development, every player including Bachynski is hoping for a bigger payday somewhere else, but Bachynski sees himself as a future NBA player and after watching him run the court at his size that’s not an unrealistic goal.

“Obviously my goal is to get to the NBA and I honestly believe I’m an NBA player.”

NBA D-League Jordan Bachynski

The Toronto Raptors had brought him in for a predraft workout and invited him to Summer League. So, not surprisingly, the Raptors 905 were very interested in acquiring the big Canadian this past summer, but Westchester wasn’t about to let him go and they were right.

“He’s having a big time year,” Raptors 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys said. “We had talked about trying – obviously we had him in Summer League. We like him. He’s Canadian. We wanted to explore possibly bringing him in to this team and they (Westchester) were not having it. They wanted him and that was the right move by them because he’s having a big time year for them.

“Defensively he’s been good for them and his scoring is up and he’s obviously developing his game. He’s a load. He’s a big boy. He’s tough. He’s not soft at all. You have to battle, fight for position.”

“At college my game was very one-sided,” Bachynski said. “I was a back to the basket big who defended really well and defense has been my token, that’s what I do and the (Knicks) have really encouraged me to develop my defensive presence, but have also encouraged me to learn how to be a better offensive player and I think that’s one thing the triangle has really helped me with. It’s helped me when I get the ball to slow down, take a breath, see all my options and if I see an open man, I’m hitting him, I’m not a black hole like a lot of bigs. I try and spread the ball around and make the best possible play.”

Bachynski is getting noticed. Averaging 13.3 points on 59.5 percent shooting, 6.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 2.8 blocks in 26.1 minutes over 24 games with Westchester this season, he is currently rated 12th on the NBA D-League Prospects Watch List.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors 905 Bruno Caboclo

Raptors Bruno Caboclo Still Only Looks Like Kevin Durant

The Toronto Raptors wasted no time in assigning sophomore Bruno Caboclo to the Raptors 905 NBA D-League team this season, after all, that was the plan they had hoped to follow last year if they could have acquired a D-League affiliate a little quicker. Caboclo might look like another Kevin Durant off the court and in practice sessions, but his lack of professional experience means this 20-year-old forward still has a long ways to go before being NBA-ready.

Raptors 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys on Bruno Caboclo:

 

“You have that length and talent and you look like Kevin Durant, but you just haven’t had that same reps, that same coaching and the same anything growing up,” Raptors 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys told Pro Bball Report in this exclusive one-on-one behind the scenes interview. “(Caboclo) needs playing experience, he needs minutes and he needs us as a coaching staff to help him every single day and be able to live with some mistakes and growing pains and I thought we’ve done that so far and as long as he just trusts us and is patient with the process.

“Everybody just needs to slow down and just let this thing happen and when he’s ready, if he does it the right way and doesn’t try and rush it, he’ll be ready.”

Caboclo has enjoyed some good outings with the 905 and some equally terrible appearances as he has averaged 14.3 points on 38.1 percent shooting from the field and 29.5 percent shooting from three-point range in 32.3 minutes through 16 games. His defense has been ahead of his offense in most games as he’s averaged 5.4 rebounds, a steal and 1.7 blocked shots. There is no disguising the potential of all that natural length and bounce.

 

 

The 905 has been good for Caboclo. He looks a lot happier than he did after last year’s disastrous experience with the independent D-League Mad Ants as the 905 coaching staff ensures he gets his minutes and his touches pretty much no matter what happens during individual games. After a full season in the NBA D-League playing significant minutes, just maybe Caboclo will have caught up enough to look like a productive NBA rookie next season.

 

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors 905 Delon Wright

Raptors Rookie Delon Wright Scores 33 Points With 905

Toronto Raptors rookie point guard Delon Wright went off for 33 points on 13-22 shooting from the field in a 905 loss to the Sioux Falls Skyforce in Mississauga on Saturday afternoon 104-88. The Skyforce won all four quarters against the Raptors 905 in front of a huge crowd (5,209) at the Hersey Centre.

 

 

The 905 roster included two other players sent down from the Toronto Raptors, Lucas Nogueira and Bruno Caboclo. Nogueira had 8 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in 40 minutes. Caboclo had a very rough afternoon shooting 0-11 from the field and failing to record a point.

 

 

NBA D-League Mississauga Raptors 905 Ashton Smith

Canadian Ashton Smith From DII College To The Raptors 905

Canadian guard Ashton Smith was a star in division two college hoops and that isn’t the usual path to the professional ranks, but Smith has managed to keep his pro hopes alive since graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2012. This season he landed a job as a 26-year-old veteran guard with the very young expansion Mississauga Raptors 905 of the NBA D-League.

Smith discusses his path to the Raptors 905 in this Pro Bball Report exclusive,

 

“I went to IUP, Indiana of Pennsylvania,” Smith confirmed. “It’s a DII. We had a pretty good program. I won 104 games over there. I was conference player of the year. I was All-American. I broke the assist record. I had a pretty good college career.

“I tried overseas for a year (after college). It didn’t really work out the way I wanted it too and I had an opportunity to play in the NBL Canadian League and I thought it would be a good idea to be closer to home.

“I came back home and was able to play in front of my friends, my family.

“Just the passion for the game. Just playing and knowing if you play well or continue to grow you will be able to get opportunities like this (in the NBA D-League).

“It’s a lot different (now). This is high level obviously. It’s like the NBA. A lot of the stuff like the coaching, just the tutelage and watching film and the training is a lot different. It’s a lot more everyday, everyday grind and the guys are a lot more athletic, a lot more talented.

“I think I am getting better everyday. Coach Jesse and the coaches working with me and just playing around and being with better guys in practice everyday is making me better.

“I love it (here). The Raptors are a big deal right now and we are a big deal right now. We have Bruno (Caboclo) and Delon (Wright) down here, so that brings a lot of excitement. That brings the level of competition up in practice. That helps me, helps everybody get better when those guys come down and play.”

Smith has got into six games with the Mississauga Raptors 905 so far this season and the excitement Wright or Raptors guard Norman Powell bring to the games and practices also means Smith isn’t going to play. Still this a huge step up for Smith from the NBL. It has to be genuinely exciting for a DII college player from Scarborough to be this close to the NBA.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors Norman Powell

Norman Powell Goes Off For 30 Points With Raptors 905

Well it only took one game for Toronto Raptors rookie Norman Powell to shake off the rust and find his offense with the Raptors 905 in Mississauga. Powell went off for 30 points on 12-18 shooting to lead all scorers in a 905 win over the 87ers 105-94 in game two of the weekend back-to-back at home.

This was a big improvement over his Saturday debut against these same 87ers. In his first D-League game, Powell shot 9-22 from the field for 23 points in a 124-115 Raptors 905 loss.

“It gets the rust off,” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said. “I know there are a lot of plays Norm had (with the Toronto Raptors) that if he had the rust off he could have completed some of the plays. Just because of the timing, the rust and everything else is still there, that he hadn’t had the chance to go against live competition, he’s made some mistakes. It is nothing but a positive to be able to go down (to the D-League) and do that.”

It sure didn’t take Powell long to lose some of that rust.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

 

Toronto NBA Raptors Anthony Bennett

Raptors Anthony Bennett To Play 905 And 416 On Sunday

The Toronto Raptors assigned forward Anthony Bennett to their NBA Development League affiliate, Raptors 905, on Sunday and the forward shot 5-16 from the field for 13 points and grabbed 4 boards in 24 minutes for the 905 in their 105-94 win over the Delaware 87ers. However, his day wasn’t over. He is expected to be recalled by the Raptors and available to play in their 6 p.m. game versus Sacramento at Air Canada Centre.

“Anthony came to us asking to use this double-header as an opportunity work on his game,” said Jeff Weltman, Raptors Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations. “This is an example of how we envisioned using our D-League team to improve our players.”

The Toronto Raptors are short-handed because of injuries to forward DeMarre Carroll and center Jonas Valanciunas, so head coach Dwane Casey might need the extra big man in case of injury or foul trouble against the Kings.

“Bennett wanted to play, he came to us,” Casey confirmed before Sunday’s game. “I think it’s great for all the young guys who are not getting the big minutes here. Even Norm (Powell), the minutes he is going to play with us, he still can go there and play minutes and come  back and still compete and play and the same with Anthony (Bennett). I think it’s great.”

The Raptors have been taking advantage of the proximity of the Mississauga Raptors 905 to allow their young developing players to play and practice in the NBA D-League without losing their connection to Toronto. This is precisely what the organization hoped for when they acquired their own affiliate team.

 

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors Norman Powell

Norman Powell Is Finally Assigned To The Raptors 905

In a move that is arguably long overdue, the Toronto Raptors announced Saturday they have assigned guard Norman Powell to the Mississauga Raptors 905. Powell is expected to be in uniform Saturday afternoon when Raptors 905 plays host to the Delaware 87ers at the Hershey Centre in time for the 905’s first annual Bollywood Day Game.

Powell earned his right to get a longer look in Toronto because of his all-out effort and lack of fear on the court, but it is his lack of experience and opportunities to play with the big club that make this assignment necessary.

The 6’4 rookie shooting guard has only played a total of 71 minutes in 12 games this season with the Raptors, averaging 1.4 points, 1.3 rebounds. He has shot just 27.6 percent from the field and it has been fairly obvious he is rushing just about every aspect of his game as he has just one speed out there on the court – about a 100 miles per hour.

The NBA D-League assignment will give Powell the opportunity to play significant minutes without the pressure of being yanked for every small mistake.

Powell was selected in the second round (46th overall) by Milwaukee in the 2015 NBA Draft. His draft rights were then traded by Milwaukee to Toronto along with a protected future first-round draft choice (originally belonging to the Los Angeles Clippers) for guard Greivis Vasquez.

The game between the Raptors 905 and the Delaware 87ers will be featured on NBA TV Canada Saturday at 2 pm.  If you can, this would be a great day to watch the game at the Hersey Centre in person as the 905 is set to host its first annual Bollywood Day Game.

“The arrival of Raptors 905 into the heart of Mississauga is exciting for all fans of basketball, but particularly for our South Asian community, which has been an integral part of the growth and success of Mississauga and Brampton,” said official Raptors and Raptors 905 community ambassador, superfan Nav Bhatia. “With the celebration of our rich Indian culture on December 19 during the Bollywood Day Game, Raptors 905 continues to exemplify how inclusive of an organization it is. I hope to have everyone come out this day to support our team and the growing game of basketball.”

There will be Indian-themed, family-oriented entertainment, including a halftime show by Broken Dance – Canada’s No. 1 Bollywood Dance Company, a traditional Indian drumming performance outside the main entrance pregame, a “selfie” booth with cut outs of Bollywood actors, a Mehndi tattoo station and more.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors 905 Bruno Caboclo

A Bruno Caboclo Drive Makes Raptors 905 Coach Mermuys Happy

Raptors 905 head coach Jesse Mermuys knows it is going to take a while for young forward Bruno Caboclo to learn everything he is trying to teach him this season. So when he sees Caboclo take a lesson from a film session and implement it on the court in spectacular fashion, Mermuys wasn’t just happy, he was ecstatic.

“I can’t tell you, inside there was fireworks going off because we had just had this film session with (Caboclo) and we are talking and I am trying to engage him and get him to open up,” Mermuys said. “I want (Caboclo) to go in there stronger and dunk the basketball. He is such a finesse skill that length and I said sometimes you got to go in there and dunk it and he laughed.

“To see him go out there and dunk it, I laughed cause I thought it was funny that he actually did it.”

 

 

Caboclo has very limited basketball experience at the professional level, but those natural skills and physical attributes promise so much once he figures things out.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

NBA D-League Mississauga Raptors 905 Sim Bhullar

Raptors 905 Show A Monster Commitment To 7’5 Sim Bhullar

The Mississauga Raptors 905 7’5 Canadian center Sim Bhullar has only played in five of his team’s 12 games this season, but that doesn’t mean the local giant is being slighted by head coach Jesse Mermuys or the organization. The Raptors have taken on a monster commitment with the support of Bhullar’s agent, Team Canada and the cooperation of Bhullar himself to significantly improve the biggest player Canada has.

Part of the deal early on was Bhullar wouldn’t travel with the 905 so he could focus on his conditioning. The big man really didn’t take getting in shape all that seriously during college and although he lost some weight during the 905 training camp, it became obvious during the season that he still had a long ways to go.

Then, somewhat unexpectedly, Mermuys dropped him from the active list during the recent homestand for several games.  Mermuys demanded Bhullar recommit to the process and the big man complied.

 

 

“It was a good wake-up call for Sim to understand that we mean – this organization means – business,” Mermuys said. “We brought him here and we had conditions in place with his agent, with Canada Basketball and we are not going to be lax on that. We are committed to the process and I’m sure it was tough, but we are not really going to let up until he gets to where he needs to be.”

Bhullar got back into the line-up at home against the Grand Rapids Drive as a result of hard work and played some of the best basketball of his brief career with the 905. Mermuys using a “hockey” approach of short three minute shifts to get the most out of his big center.

“The time I took off I kind of took a step back from basketball and I focused on the things I really needed to do and I worked hard everyday and first guy in the gym and last guy to leave,” Bhullar told Pro Bball Report. “I guess that really helped me get a better feel on the court and I am going to keep continuing to do that and try to be like a leader for these guys.”

Bhullar has embraced the shorter shift approach that Mermuys has adopted and was so effective against the Drive. At this point, any concerns about Bhullar not being happy with his decision to come home to play seem completely unfounded.

“It gives me time to refresh myself and I know Coach is going to put me right back into the game,” Bhullar said. “So, it’s just go in there and work your hardest and get on the bench and get some water and get some rest and get right ready to go right back in there.

“I am enjoying it. I mean it’s good to be home and something I didn’t have last year was the development part of the game and the way the coaches help each player out and like I said, just being here two hours before practice and an hour after everybody leaves is big for me and I think I really need that and I didn’t have that last year.

“I am enjoying my time here. It’s a year for me to develop and if I can do it here then I can definitely do it anywhere.”

Bhullar is one of the most intriguing Canadian prospects to ever come along. The big man dwarfs any center he goes up against and his smooth jump shot, soft hands and finishing ability around the rim demand a double-team virtually every trip down the court. He’s even a decent defender until he runs out of gas.

The Raptors 905 approach might look harsh as Bhullar gets left off the active roster to work on his conditioning at the discretion of Coach Mermuys, but it’s exactly what he needs and wants.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.