Morning Coffee – Fri, Nov 27 - Raptors Republic
|Raptors Republic 27 Nov 2020 at 14:55|
The Raptors have waived Dewan Hernandez. His contract is non-guaranteed for this season and would have become fully guaranteed on Sunday.
Toronto announced that they have waived Dewan Hernandez.
Hernandez was set to have his $1.5M contract guaranteed on Nov. 29.
I have Milwaukee and Philly in the top East tier and then Toronto, Brooklyn, Boston and Miami in some order together, and then Indiana and Atlanta as a third, still plucky, tier. I’d just like to see it from Brooklyn a bit first, especially on the defensive end. As for the 76ers, well, fool me like five times, shame on me.
As for how the Raptors pivoted, I’m okay with it. It’s a little unsexy, and I personally would have swung for a little more upside as a Plan B. Everyone knows I liked Harry Giles a lot, and Noah Vonleh types as a Plan C. I liked a few low-floor, bench-ceiling wings. Kris Dunn was never a fit, but that light will never go out.
I get it. They didn’t want to eat any 2021 cap space, which is smart. Were any of those pieces going to meaningfully change their 2021 outlook? Were any even going to be good enough that, should a star become available, the Raptors wouldn’t renounce their rights as a sacrifice? Giles and Bacon signed minimum deals. Vonleh is still out there. Dunn will resurface in our conversations in the Raptors-Hawks 2-7 matchup when he forces 36 turnovers in a series and shoots 14 percent. I was slightly disappointed with the certainty-over-upside approach, but that was a preference on my part, not a mandate.
In practical terms, the team is too good to bottom out, so the focus became on re-establishing a floor. That’s worthwhile. Aron Baynes and Alex Len are good, and while DeAndre’ Bembry is a little redundant, he is like an in-between of Patrick McCaw and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, which we know can be useful as a depth piece. If you can’t be bad or elite, you might as well solidify that good, meaty middle area.
As for Boucher, I’m excited. He’s a player I’ve tracked for a long time now, as have the Raptors (Luke Winn, now a member of their front office, wrote a Sports Illustrated cover story on him when Boucher was at Oregon). Whether he returns positive ROI on his deal doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme since the second year is non-guaranteed and they held rights on him, anyway. But this could be a big feel-good payoff. More philosophically, it will also be an interesting window into how far “positionless” can extend up the positional and skill-set spectrum. Boucher needs to improve his 3-point shot to really stabilize his offensive contributions. He’s probably going to get 18 minutes a night or so to do that across backup power forward and occasional centre minutes.
How do you feel about The Bludgeon Brothers as the new centre combination, with doses of Boucher? It’s early for this kind of question, but who starts and closes the way things look to you right now? I’m not as traditional centre averse as most, but the option to close with OG Anunoby at the five remains enticing to me.
And let’s strip away the emotion of losing Ibaka and Gasol to recentre the theme of the Raptors’ 2020 offseason more coldly: do you agree with the 2021-flexibility-at-all-costs maneuvering?
Raptors’ Chris Boucher embracing biggest opportunity of career – Sportsnet
“They are two different players that definitely gave me two aspects of the game,” Boucher said. “Marc was a facilitator, his basketball IQ is really high and now I’ve learned so much about being able to put your team in a good position and also knowing, ‘no, you don’t have to be the fastest guy, but you always got some techniques that you can use.’ He helped me a lot with that.
“And when it comes to Serge, just knowing what it takes to be ready all the time and his shot and how much he was working. I think that really helped me out, especially when I came in my first year. He helped me out a lot with just realizing that it’s just the beginning, that there’s a lot of work to be put in and I think he helped me out a lot with this. Unfortunately, he left but he helped me out a lot with this and he was a good vet for me.”
Boucher learned many different aspects from both Gasol and Ibaka
In particular, Boucher learned the value of how to get his body ready to play at the NBA level. Listed at six-foot-11 and a slender 200 pounds, Boucher is never going to be the most physically imposing player out there. But between the COVID-19-mandated league suspension and the start of the bubble, he did put on 15 pounds and has now spent this off-season working to not just get bigger, but stronger and more agile as well, to help with his game’s natural strengths.
“Gaining weight was one thing, but also being able to play with the weight and being able to adjust,” Boucher said. “There was a lot of stuff I had to get stronger. I’ve got to get my core better and there are a lot of little things that will get me better.
With Bembry, we must try to look past what he doesn’t do. A glance at his per game counting stats suggest that soon enough: he’s not much of a scorer (averaging 6.2 points per game for his career) and he’s not a player a team would like launching the ball from any sort of range (he’s a career 27 percent three-point shooter). These are Rondae-esque numbers, but unfortunately Bembry doesn’t quite have his size. At 6’5” and 210 pounds, the next question to ask of Bembry would be: what else he can do for the Raptors?
Again, think of what Toronto needs. Their overall team mission is to be as flexible and versatile defensive as possible. To achieve those ends, Coach Nick Nurse wants players who are relentless and swarming on that end of the floor. If a given player can defend up or down a position — a small forward who can stay with point guards, a shooting guard who can hassle power forwards, etc. — then they have a place on the Raptors. This is where we find Bembry. He’s a hustle player, someone who exceeds his position in those chaos metrics that Toronto’s bench lineups have specialized in of late. Putting Bembry in a lineup with other masters of havoc like Kyle Lowry and Chris Boucher maintains that exact energy.
In this, Toronto should be able to count on Bembry for defensive pressure, steals, deflections, and rebounding above average for his position. And that position could be flexible enough — even without the more useful size of Rondae — for lineups with the Raptors’ other super-versatile players like Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby. Yes, Bembry is not much of a shooter or shot-creator on his own, but putting him in a defensive specialist role on a team that loves to get out in transition means there will be chances for him to excel.
And I’d be remiss in not mentioning, of course, that Bembry, like Len, is also looking for a chance to prove himself. As a recent first round pick (21st in 2016), Bembry is a player still trying to find his place in the league despite entering it with some pedigree behind his name. In the short term for the Raptors — and make no mistake, this season is all about the short term for Toronto — Bembry looks to be a solid fit.
NBA Free Agency Report: Raptors waive Dewan Hernandez – Raptors HQ
In a surprising turn, the Raptors officially announced this afternoon that they are waiving centre Dewan Hernandez in advance of the 2020-21 season. The soon-to-be 24-year-old big man would have once again been the Raptors 14th or 15th man for the coming season, but it still comes as something of a shock given Toronto’s usual regard for their own draft picks as of late — and their ability to develop them into useful NBA players.
The thinking here from Toronto may have more to do with roster management and salary cap thinking than potential. Though, due to things he could and couldn’t control, Hernandez didn’t do much to prove he could stick in the NBA.