Toronto Raptors sophomore forward Quincy Acy has been training hard this summer as he hopes to win some court time in what is expected to be a tight rotation. Head Coach Dwane Casey had Acy trying out the small forward position at NBA Summer League and that is where Acy’s efforts remain focused.
“(I am) just training really, trying to take care of my body and prepare for the upcoming season,” Acy said. “(Working on my) jump shot and lateral movement, so I can move my feet to guard threes.”
The classic undersized power forward in college, at 6’7 tall without shoes Acy is a combo-forward in the NBA who will probably need to be able to guard both forward positions in order to carve himself out a long professional career. However, there are more than just subtle differences between the three and the four spots on the court as Acy experienced during his first attempts in Las Vegas this past July.
“You can’t be as physical all the time because it is on the perimeter and you can’t use hands,” Acy explained. “Whereas in the post, it is all arm and leg battles continuously. It is just trying to gauge when and when not to use your physicality.”
Small forward has become a crowded spot on the Raptors this season with the starter Rudy Gay soaking up 36 minutes per night or more and the veteran three-point specialist Steve Novak arriving from the Knicks earlier in the summer expected to be in the rotation. The Raptors have also signed the 6’11 forward Austin Daye and have invited forward Chris Wright to training camp. All of these players can be described as combo-forwards that have already played at the small forward position. Also DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross and Landry Fields can play small forward if needed.
Acy recognizes he has competition for minutes, but this is not anything new and he knows what he needs to do to get his shot.
“This is the same position I was in last year,” Acy said. “You have to work and wait your turn. I feel like everybody should get a chance, especially if you work, the coaching staff sees that and they will give you a chance. It is just doing the right thing and staying patient and staying hungry.”
Acy only played in 29 games last season, but in April, Casey gave the young forward a good look, playing him 20.9 minutes per game over the team’s last 9 regular season games. Acy averaged 6.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 0.7 blocks and 0.7 steals and played with a lot of energy in April. It was hard not to notice him on the court. It will not be a lack of effort that keeps Acy out of the rotation this season.
Stephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre. A member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association, Stephen is the editor and publisher of Pro Bball Report. You can follow Stephen on twitter @stevesraptors