It isn’t going to be handed to him on a silver platter, but the Toronto Raptors only open roster spot should belong to Mississauga Raptors 905 wing E.J. Singler. He earned it in Summer League with Toronto and during his time in Mississauga last season.
“It was a blessing really,” Singler told Pro Bball Report about his time with the 905. “I came in with 10 or 12 games left and was able to (be accepted) with open arms and play a lot and show the Raptors organization what I could do on the floor. It gave me the opportunity to then go play Summer League with the Raptors. It gave me an opportunity to come to training camp and it’s just a blast to be able to be here with such a great organization and fight for that last spot.”
A four year player with Oregon, the now 26-year-old was a proven shooter in college who has gotten better during his time in the NBA Development League. Two years ago with the Idaho Stampede, Singler shot 47.5 percent from three-point range on 5.5 attempts per game. Last year with the 905, he again shot 47.5 percent from three on 6.1 attempts a game. Then this past summer in Las Vegas, he shot 41.2 percent from three-point range with Toronto. His ability to hit from anywhere on the court is well established. Besides, a very young Raptors team certainly doesn’t need another player that needs to play with the 905 to get up to speed.
Plus, there is a lot more to Singler’s game than just hitting the outside jumper. With the 905 he was the leading +/- player by a wide margin at +9.2 points as he quarterbacked both the offense and the defense in a late season surge by the Raptors D-League squad. He filled the stats sheet with 14.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists on 48 percent shooting from the field.
The 6’6 Singler has been working hard at expanding his game since college.
“With the 905 last season I was able to come in and be a leader and show that I could do different things on the floor,” Singler said. “I’ll do anything on the basketball floor to win.”
E.J. is the younger brother of Thunder forward Kyle Singler and he credits playing against his brother for his ability to be effective against bigger players.
“Oh I’m way better (than Kyle),” E.J. told Pro Bball Report at the end of the 905 season. “That’s not even a question.
“I’ve played the four/five position in college. I’ve had to play against bigger guys and I’ve played against my brother too who’s a lot bigger than me, so I’m used to it. I like to battle.”
Singler’s willingness to battle at both ends of the court was evident in Mississauga last season and it’s what can win him a job from Raptors head coach Dwane Casey in a training camp loaded with three-point shooters vying for the final roster spot. Also, it would send a very strong positive message to 905 players that success at this level gets noticed and rewarded.