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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 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.

 

 

 

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

Can Raptors 905 Sim Bhullar Get In Shape?

With the Toronto Raptors calling up Lucas Nogueira, 7’5 Canadian center Sim Bhullar is expected to finally get his chance to play big minutes for the 905 when the Idaho Stampede visit the Hersey Center in Mississauga tonight.

While Bhullar had been stuck behind Nogueira, the bigger impact on his playing time has been a decision by him and the team to keep this very big man at home to control his diet and work on his conditioning.

Sim Bhullar

“Over the summer I had a nutritionist and we talked about it and decided that it would be best if I stayed home and that way I could continue my diet and the things I have been doing over the summer,” Bhullar told Pro Bball Report.  “Ever since I started with my nutritionist I lost like 15 lbs in a month and that’s a huge thing for me. If I can get another month like that, I can lose another 15, so it’s beneficial for myself and the Raptors agree with it too.”

Bhullar hasn’t played a game on the road with the 905 – yet – and in the team’s sole home tilt, he only played 14.2 minutes and he looked gassed being on the floor even that long. At one point with the 905 shooting free throws during the home opener, Bhullar wasn’t allowed to rebound. He was sent back down the floor to wait in the paint on defense.

However, he did show off why he is such an intriguing prospect. Bhullar went 4-4 from the field, collected 3 rebounds and blocked 2 shots. He’s a giant among basketball players and while he’s on the court, he is virtually unstoppable and almost impossible to shoot over.

Finding things this easy led to some really bad habits in college that Bhullar has struggled to shake off. If he could run the court for even a few minutes at a stretch, he’d be in the NBA now.

“I kind of have to get the college mindset out,” Bhullar explained. “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.”

There are some obvious signs of improvement in Bhullar’s body since he left college after two years to play 39 D-League games with Reno last season. He looked a little better again playing with Team Canada at the Pan Am Games this past summer as well, but his conditioning still wasn’t up to par. His claim of dropping 15 lbs with the 905 looks believable, he is a little thinner than in the summer. Although, I’d guess Bhullar would be better off dropping 15 lbs a month well past Christmas if he really wants to get into NBA playing shape.

Fortunately, the benefits of getting into shape are becoming obvious and Bhullar can feel the impact of dropping a few pounds already.

“It’s so much easier to run around, move around and be in the games longer,” Bhullar said. “Even jumping is so much easier. Being able to jump an extra inch higher is big in this game. Especially just looking the part helps you out. Other NBA teams are watching.”

Jumping even an inch higher is big for Bhullar, it appears like his feet are still on the ground when he dunks now – not really, but it looks like it.

The D-League might even be better for Bhullar’s development than the NBA at this point in his career. The fast paced guard dominated game forces Bhullar to run and exposes his less than ideal conditioning. He can’t hide behind a deliberately slower pace here and it should push him to work on his body. So far those other NBA teams have been watching him grab his shorts after just a couple trips up and down the court.

“The D-League is amazing,” Bhullar said. “Especially the level of basketball here. It matches any league in the world. All the talented guys are here and they know they need to take it to the next step. The D-League is the way to go if you want to be in the NBA.”

905 head coach Jesse Mermuys singled out Bhullar as one of the players the team was looking to develop this season and the reason is obvious – 7’5 with soft hands obvious. If Bhullar could get in NBA game shape, he could be a backup or at least a solid third-string center already.

This giant of a local Toronto player will get a chance to play in Mississauga tonight and it seems like the only thing keeping him out of an NBA uniform is himself. Definitely a D-League player worth watching.

 

 

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 Delon WrightRaptors Rookie Delon Wright To Play In Mississauga

The Raptors took Wright 20th overall in the draft because he looked more NBA ready than the alternatives and they needed a third string point guard. That assessment could still prove to be correct, but Wright needs to play and the Raptors 905 will give him that opportunity.

Raptors 905 Stripes

Three Canadians To Play For Raptors 905

Canadians Sim Bhullar, Keanau Post and Ashton Smith are on the Raptors 905 to start the NBA D-League regular season.

Sim Bhullar leaning in for the Raptors 905

Media Release:

RAPTORS 905 ANNOUNCES FINAL ROSTER OUT OF TRAINING CAMP

Canadians Sim Bhullar, Keanau Post, Ashton Smith make team following camp

Raptors 905, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors, announced Wednesday its final roster out of training camp for its inaugural NBA D-League season.

Eleven players have made the team out of camp, including three Canadians: centre Sim Bhullar (Brampton, Ont.), forward-centre Keanau Post (Victoria, B.C.) and guard Ashton Smith (Scarborough, Ont.). Players released today include guard-forward Shaquille Keith, guard Jabs Newby, forward Kourtney Roberson and forward Kevin Thomas. One player (to be determined) will be made inactive prior to Raptors 905’s opening game November 14 at Fort Wayne to reduce the active roster to the NBA D-League’s maximum of 10 players. The team’s first home game is scheduled for November 19 against the Maine Red Claws at Hershey Centre.

See the full list below.

# NAME POS HT WT 2014-15 TEAM YRS. PRO
0 Jay Harris G 6-2 157 Illinois-Chicago (NCAA) R
1 Shannon Scott G 6-2 193 Ohio State (NCAA) R
3 Melvin Johnson G-F 6-5 171 Reno / Delaware (NBA D-League) 1
5 Scott Suggs G 6-8 194 ES Chalon-Sur-Saone (France) 2
6 Axel Toupane G-F 6-6 212 Strasbourg (France) 4
9 Ashton Smith G 6-1 197 Brampton (NBL Canada) 3
12 Michale Kyser F 6-9 199 LA Tech (NCAA) R
21 Mike Anderson G 6-5 208 Washington (NCAA) R
32 Keanau Post F-C 6-10 261 Missouri (NCAA) R
33 Walter Pitchford F 6-9 234 Nebraska (NCAA) R
34 Sim Bhullar C 7-4 362 Sacramento (NBA) / Reno (NBA D-League) 1

 

 

 

Sim Bhullar

Raptors 905 Uniforms Look Pretty Good

The Raptors 905 showed off their uniforms at media day and they looked pretty good on one of their newest and most familiar prospects – 7’5 Canadian center Sim Bhullar.

“You just got to go out there and play hard and produce like I did last year in Reno (D-League),” Bhullar said. “Hopefully I get the chance to play here and it’s a great feeling (to be home.)”

Raptors 905 jerseys

Press Release:

RAPTORS 905 UNVEILS UNIFORMS

Prominent ‘905’ on chest of home and away jerseys pays tribute to Greater Toronto Area

Raptors 905, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors, unveiled Wednesday the club’s home and away uniforms for its inaugural season. Both uniforms, revealed in partnership with BMO Bank of Montreal, feature the ‘905’ moniker prominently across the chest of the jerseys in tribute to the Greater Toronto Area.

“With our uniform unveiling, it’s a sign that we’re getting closer to making history as the first Canadian team in the NBA D-League,” said Raptors 905 General Manager Dan Tolzman. “Our team is excited to bring a high level of basketball to Hershey Centre and the 905, and we’re looking forward to seeing our fans come out to support this team, starting with the preseason games later this week.”

For its first season, Raptors 905 will don white home uniforms and red away uniforms, consistent with the regular home and away uniforms of its NBA parent club. The home white uniforms will have red trim and black numbering, while the red away uniforms will have black trim and white numbering. The shorts on both Raptors 905 uniforms will feature the Raptors primary logo on the left leg and a Raptors 905 emblem on the right leg. BMO, a proud sponsor of Raptors 905, will feature its logo underneath the uniform number on ‎the front of the jerseys.

“As the Founding Partner, BMO is proud to help welcome the newest member of the NBA Development League with the unveiling of the Raptors 905 uniforms,” said Steve Murphy, Senior Vice President, GTA Division, BMO Bank of Montreal. “The communities within the 905 are the hotbeds of basketball talent and development in Canada, and with the team’s inaugural season just days away, we’re excited to be a part of the sport at all levels as the momentum continues to grow in the GTA and across Canada.”

Sim Bhullar interview

Canadian Giant Sim Bhullar Traded To The Raptors 905

The Toronto Raptors NBA D-League franchise, Raptors 905, has acquired the rights to giant 7’5 center Sim Bhullar. A local Toronto area prospect, Bhullar made history as the first player of Indian descent to play in the NBA. He played three minutes in three games with the Sacramento the Kings last season.

Greg Wissinger of Sactown Royalty writes:

The Reno Bighorns have traded Sim Bhullar to Raptors 905, receiving Ricky Ledo in return. Bhullar was signed to the Sacramento Kings as an undrafted free agent in 2014.

Bhullar spent most of last year in Reno, where he developed surprisingly well. Bhullar entered the season nowhere near game shape, even by D League standards. He worked his way into shape, and averaged over 25 minutes per game.

Bhullar has a soft touch around the net, good hands and nearly impossible height to guard and while he may have gotten into better condition last season in Reno, he still had a long ways to go when working out with Team Canada this past summer. If he can get into “NBA shape”, he could be one of the D-League’s most intriguing prospects.