The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday a list of 17 players that will participate in the team’s free agent camp this weekend. The two-day camp will be held on the Adidas Practice Court at Air Canada Centre. The Friday and Saturday morning sessions are open to the media between 9-11 a.m.
The second free agent workout of the week (first being Charlotte) once again features what Jon L considers "a weird combination of players" in former NBA guys, a handful of D-League players, a bunch of Euroleague vets and a few guys who haven't been relevant for several years.
SB Nation's RaptorsHQ is down on the group, noting that "the list of players is a bit disappointing from my side. Players from last year's undrafted crop like are nowhere to be found and I'm not really sure any of these guys have the intangibles that this Raptors' team currently needs."
Personally, I'm stoked for this group. All 17 will almost certainly show up on a Summer League roster this Summer (with a few already having commitments to teams other than Toronto, actually) and a few have even shown to have considerable NBA potential in the past - and potential is way cooler than reality (regardless of the 'intangibles' that RaptorsHQ has decided these players don't provide).
Alade Aminu, PF, Bakersfield Jam (D-League) - I really wasn't high on at the beginning of the season (even I need to see more than raw potential to be intrigued), but after a mid-season trade to a team that better utilized his talent, I decided he was talented enough to play in the NBA based on the following formula: youth + athleticism + length + untapped potential = ridiculous upside. And then, on March 26th, Aminu was called up to the Miami Heat for the remainder of the season (though never got any burn, oddly enough).
As of now, he's mostly an offensive contributor as his defense and rebounding could still use a lot of work (though maybe his month of NBA practices helped out). I don't want to label him as lazy, but it seems when he really puts his mind to it, he can be great at both. However, sometimes it seems as if he's just on the court and doesn't really get involved like he should when he's not on the offensive end.
Of note: He's still only 22, has a year of high-level professional basketball experience and is the brother of future lottery pick. He averaged 19.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.2 steals in 33 minutes of action after the aforementioned mid-season trade from the Erie BayHawks.
James Baron, SG, Mersin (Turkey) - I don't know when Jimmy decided to change his name, but I'm not exactly happy about it. Baron was a very good three-point shooting in college while playing for his dad (Jim) at Rhode Island, but the problem is that he's "point guard-sized" without having a lot of point guard skills.
Baron got invites to both the Orlando and Vegas Summer Leagues last year, though he didn't play much for theand Washington cut him before they even got to Vegas - not too much to go off of there.
He played pretty well in Turkey this season, averaging 16.4 points while shooting a rather spectacular 43% from beyond the arc (even though the European arc isn't quite as deep as the NBA's, that percentage out of 226 attempts is pretty good).
Unfortunately, he didn't play point guard in Turkey (former Marquette studstarted at the 1) so his non-shooting skills probably aren't much better than what we saw last season.
Fortunately, he was a Turkish League All-Star - so maybewill befriend him and all will be right in Toronto.
Jaycee Carroll, SG, Gran Canaria (Spain) - Carroll's appearance at this camp is a bit confounding to me as he already plans to play for the in the Orlando Summer League and then the in the Vegas Summer League.
On the other hand, it obviously makes sense as to why the sweet-shooting guard out of Utah State would want to showcase his talent in front of NBA decision-makers as often as possible - it can't hurt if more teams are familiar with you.
The last time I saw Carroll play live was, coincidentally, the last game of the Vegas Summer League last season (he played for the) - and I remember the triple-overtime affair quite vividly. In that game, Carroll got the start and scored 22 points while shooting 9-of-20 from the field and adding eight boards and two steals.
I was surprised he chose to play overseas this past season, but the stats (and the paychecks, I assume) indicate that it worked out just fine. In 50 games for Gran Canaria, Carroll averaged 17.7 points between the Eurocup and the Spanish League - with his 18.8 scoring average leading a rather competitive Spanish League.
Of note: Carroll also played on the Raptors 2008 Vegas Summer League team, averaging 5.8 points in 12 minutes of action.
Mike Efevberha, SG, Lugano (Switzerland) - Honestly, I'm pretty confused as to why he was invited to this tryout after watching him ply his trade in the D-League from 2006-2008. He was alright, but certainly not NBA talented - he started just 11 of his 62 D-League games and shot 41% from the field and just 29% from beyond the arc.
The Raptors coaching and scouting staff probably has a better eye for talent than myself (or Efevberha has a pretty good agent) so I guess I'll just have to assume he's improved quite a bit.
His statistics since leaving the NBA Development League tell me he did, actually, though the leagues in which he put those numbers up aren't very well-regarded. He led the New Zealand league with 27.8 points per game in 2009 and followed that up by averaging 17.7 points and 2.1 steals this past season in Switzerland.
Andre Emmett, SF, Shandong (China) - Emmett hasn't lived up to the lofty expectations I placed upon him after winning the 2004 NCAA Dunk Contest even after becoming an early second round pick for the Seattle Supersonics in that year's draft (before being traded to the before the season started).
He appeared in eight games for the Grizzlies during the 2004-05 NBA season, but was traded and then released by thebefore he was able to accumulate another season of NBA experience.
Since then, he's bounced around while playing in the D-League, Lithuania, Belgium, France, Venezuela, China and Puerto Rico - he's racked up the frequent flyer miles, I presume. In his most recent full season (he went to Puerto Rico for the playoffs), he led all scorers in China by averaging 32 points per game while throwing in 7.5 boards and shooting 60% from the field.
Gary Forbes, G/F, Ironi Ramat Gan (Israel) - Forbes is an intriguing player because he has good size for a two-guard, played a bit at the point as a rookie in the D-League and played pretty well in Vegas for the Development League Select team last season.
In nine games in Israel last season, Forbes filled up the box score by averaging 20.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.2 steals. Those numbers compare pretty favorably to his rookie season in the D-League when he averaged 17.4 points, 5.3 boards, 3.2 assists and a steal while shooting an impressive 39% from the field.
He's older than I thought he was (25 with two seasons of professional experience), but I like him.
Josh Heytvelt, PF/C, Lottomatica (Italy) - Heytvelt, who just finished his first professional season after being a standout big man for Gonzaga, was probably the most surprising player to go undrafted last season - the drug problems and a history of poor rebounding being the most likely factors.
Heytvelt then signed with thefor Summer League last season, though he didn't get much playing time (they reportedly like his pick-and-roll defense, though, for what it's worth). He seems to have acclimated himself to the (European) pro game, however, if his numbers from this past season are any indication.
In 30 games for Oyak Renault in Turkey, the near 7-footer averaged 17.3 points and 10 boards while ranking fifth in the league in blocked shots. He also took 150 three-point shots, connecting on 54. I'm not sure what the circumstances were, but he then finished the season in Italy (though played 11 minutes combined in his two games with Lottomatica).
Othello Hunter, PF, Ilysiakos (Greece) - Hunter made the as a free agent out of Ohio State in 2008, but was rarely used before being cut right before the contract guarantee date this past season.
After being waived by theso that they could eventually call-up from the D-League, Hunter played with Ilysiakos in Greece where he averaged 10.6 points and 8.0 rebounds in eight games.
Of note: Hunter is the only player scheduled to participate in both the Bobcats and Raptors free agent camps.
James Mays, PF, Humacao (Puerto Rico) - Mays, in my humble opinion, is probably the best player at this workout - at least in terms of being NBA caliber.
Mays was a solid, but unspectacular, power forward for three of his four seasons at Clemson before nearly making theas an undrafted free agent in 2008.
After being cut by the Nuggets, Mays was drafted with the second overall pick in the D-League draft by the Nuggets D-League affiliate - showing that the Nuggets obviously still had a strong interest in the 6-foot-9 banger.
Mays started out great for the Colorado 14ers by averaging 18.7 points and 8.7 rebounds, but a torn ACL ended his rookie season just 12 games after it started. Judging by his numbers in China this past season, however, he seems to have recovered quite well.
Mays averaged 26 points and 13.2 rebounds while shooting 57% from the field and an unfounded 44% from beyond the arc before being randomly released in January after 16 games (he had 35 points and 11 rebounds in his last game, so on-the-floor productivity obviously wasn't the issue).
In 25 games in Puerto Rico, James averaged 17.6 points and 8.6 rebounds - though his three-point shot apparently fell back to earth as he made just 34 of his 115 attempts from beyond the arc.
Jack McClinton, SG, Aliaga (Turkey) - You know who really likes McClinton? Jon L.
This is what he wrote after the second round pick decided to go overseas after being cut by San Antonio in training camp.
It's a bit disappointing to see that McClinton won't be playing in the NBA this year, since he certainly has the ability. It's also somewhat of a shame that he won't be in the D-League, since he'd be at the top of the call-up candidate list pretty much from the start. But this year I have a hard time holding it against guys for going to make money overseas. Plus, the Turkish league has a decent enough reputation that he might get some honest looks from NBA teams next year.
While In Turkey, McClinton averaged 15.9 and 3.1 assists, but shot just 43% from the field and 32% from beyond the arc.
Trent Plaisted, PF/C, Zadar (Croatia) - Plaisted, like Carroll before him, is also rumored to already have a Summer League invite (with Chicago) - but the same thinking applies.
Plaisted was the last ever pick of the Seattle Supersonics, though he was traded on draft night for the rights to(I'd say Oklahoma City got the better of that deal, for what it's worth). He didn't have a very good Summer League for the , however, and went to play in Italy his rookie year. That quickly ended, rather unfortunately, as he suffered a season-ending back injury just two games into the season.
He returned to the Pistons Summer League, though, hoping to secure a spot for this past season in the NBA. After again struggling in Vegas last Summer, Plaisted headed to Croatia.
While the 6-foot-11 big man didn't have a standout season by the numbers (7.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.1 fouls in just 16 minutes of action), he did shoot an impressive 70% from the field (64-of-91).
His numbers aren't impressive, but he's a left-handed big man that plays hard and runs the floor well - I like him.
Bernard Robinson, SF, New Orleans Hornets (NBA) - I'm utterly confused by Robinson being on this list.
After being a second round pick of thein 2004, it seemed like he'd become a decent NBA role player - he even started 18 games in his second season (it was for the Bobcats, but still). In the middle of the 2007 season, however, he was traded to the and, after not getting much scratch, he tore his ACL the following Summer.
The 6-foot-7 swingman was then traded, and quickly released, to the Hornets for- looking like the MCL injury had ended his career.
Randomly, he popped up a year later (in the Summer of 2008) on theSummer League roster - though the comeback didn't go as planned as he averaged just 6.0 points and 6.2 rebounds while a paltry 42% from the field.
The Michigan alum hasn't played in the NBA, or anywhere else, for the past two seasons.
Cheikh Samb, C, Real Madrid (Spain) - Samb was drafted by the in the second round back in 2006, but was quickly traded to the Pistons for before heading overseas before his NBA career could begin.
He came back over to play for the Pistons in the 2007 Summer League again, and after starting four games, he wound up with an NBA contract. That season was spent mostly in the D-League with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants where he'd put up good, but not great, numbers.
Samb was involved in the Nuggets-Pistons Allen Iverson-Chauncey Billups swap the following Summer, but after failing to impress in Denver he was traded to thehalfway through the season. The Clippers weren't impressed either, though, and he was released a month and a half in before ending his season on a couple of 10-day contracts with the Knicks.
Samb signed a one-month contract in October with Real Madrid, played two minutes in one game, and was released when the contract was up in November.
I have no idea what he's been doing since, but his brother Mamadou applied for early entry into this year's draft.
Curtis Stinson, PG, Iowa Energy (D-League) - I'm glad Stinson's getting opportunities this Summer.
He was, arguably, the best point guard in the D-League this past season - and definitely the best during the playoffs (especially this game).
He played well for the D-League Select team last year, but after averaging 16.1 points, 10.7 assists and 6.2 rebounds for the Energy this year he probably deserves a chance to showcase his talent on an NBA team this year.
The only real knock on his game is three-point shooting - and sometimes he gets a bit too emotional.
Salim Stoudamire, G, (NBA) - I don't know what it is about good players that went to Arizona, but they seem to randomly disappear (miss you, Miles Simon).
Stoudamire was the first pick of the second round by the Atlanta Hawks after a pretty stellar career at Arizona, but his best skill as a Wildcat - scoring - didn't quite translate to the NBA as he shot just 40% from the field in three seasons as a Hawk.
Since his rookie contract ran out in the Summer of 2008, Stoudamire hasn't played an NBA regular season game (or anywhere overseas), though he does frequent the Summer League circuits - most recently with the Bucks last year.
Unfortunately his Eurobasket "outlook" sums him up, even now, pretty well: "Oustanding shooter... Incredible range... Not very quick... Not a true point guard... Pretty selfish... Not a great locker room presence."
I often wonder why an undersized shooting guard would choose to sit at home for two seasons instead of trying to learn to play the point in the D-League, but I guess that's why I'm not an NBA player.
D.J. Strawberry, G, Reno Bighorns (D-League) - Strawberry was the 59th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the after being to the ACC All-Defensive team at Maryland, but he lasted just one season - 33 games played - in the NBA. Since then, he's played in Italy and the D-League while putting up middling numbers.
Strawberry has primarily been known to be a defensive presence, but he showcased a few new skills in the D-League this past season which leads me to believe that the NBA could be in his future again.
He didn't light the world on fire this past season after joining the Bighorns in January, but he did look alright as a point guard - something that I didn't originally expect him to showcase - and averaged 5.5 assists as the backup off the bench. He also put up the best field goal percentage of his career, a scorching 52%, but the 34% three-point percentage shows that his range still isn't really there - he's just better at getting to the bucket.
A.D. Vassallo, SG, Paris-Levallois (France) - Angel Daniel Vassallo Colon was a stud at Virginia Tech, but went undrafted last year even after the 6-foot-6 swingman averaging 19.1 points and 6.2 boards in the ACC.
Interestingly enough, he didn't get a Summer League invite either - or at least he didn't accept one if he did receive one.
Instead, he went to France and averaged 17.8 points while shooting a pretty decent 42% from beyond the arc earning an all-star game invitiation.
|2010 FREE AGENT CAMP PARTICIPANTS
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