It isn’t every day, even in Summer League, when a coach rolls out the ball, looks at you and says, ‘tonight, you’re the man!’ The Raptors Quincy Acy had been playing in the very large Summer League shadow of Jonas Valanciunas as the Raptors’ goal in Las Vegas was to let Valanciunas practice against smaller more athletic players than he will usually be guarded by in November. Valanciunas dominated and all Acy had to do was to show some progress for a successful Summer League.
Saturday night was different, however, as the Raptors forced Valanciunas to rest before heading back to Europe and his Lithuanian National team duties. Acy had his chance to shine and he took full advantage of it.
Up until Saturday Acy was doing okay, but nothing special against Summer League competition. Averaging 10.5 points on 45.9 percent shooting and grabbing 5.3 boards was acceptable. The 0-7 from three-point land was undoubtedly disappointing to Acy, but the power small forward experiment the Raptors were trying was going to take time to evolve, if it was ever to happen. Acy looked like himself, a guy who is willing to work hard and play with lots of energy, but he often looked more than a little lost in a slightly different role.
No Valanciunas available, no true center in the starting lineup on Saturday and Acy looked more at ease playing a big man role from the tip. He started out shooting well and finished shooting better. If he hadn’t of passed on a few shots, this would have easily been a 30 point night for the Raptors 22-year-old second round pick of last summer.
As things turned out, Acy scored 28 points on 9-15 shooting and nailed 2-4 three point attempts, he even looked comfortable doing it. As NBA TV commentator Sam Mitchell pointed out, 28 points beat Acy’s best game at Baylor by 3. Acy said he could shoot the ball when he was introduced to the media last summer and on Saturday night, he finally showed us he could.
The big man bonus for Acy didn’t stop at the offensive end. Acy played solid defense – for a Summer League game – and ended up a plus 3 for the contest even though the Raptors lost to the Suns 103-98. He also snagged 10 rebounds for his first ever professional league double-double.
A break out performance on Saturday might not be the best sales pitch for Acy as a power small forward, it was however, a clear signal to the Raptors that they shouldn’t forget about the player they took 37th overall in 2012. He might not have a clear cut position, but he might just have what it takes to eventually win himself a spot as a rotation player in the NBA.
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.