Raptors905 News

Raptors 905 select Kethan Savage, 3 others in draft; Kyle Wiltjer to join 905

They’ve gotten some modest contributions from draft picks the last two years.

Raptors 905 fleshed out the bulk of their likely training camp roster on Saturday, making five selections in the 2017 G-League Draft. The 905 entered the day a little light on early picks, as their status as defending champion in an expanding league landed their No. 1 pick at No. 26 overall. They held an additional third-round pick from the Jarrod Uthoff trade last year, but they were still looking at picking 26, 52, 73, 78, and 104 in a draft pool of 146 players, tough sledding to find name-brand value.

Kethan Savage – Round 1, Pick 26

An undrafted combo-guard out of Butler, Kethan Savage fits the Raptors 905 mold of larger guards who can play either spot and work on or off the ball, making him a potential fit in the guard rotation with Lorenzo Brown and Davion Berry. At 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Savage is more shooting guard than point guard, and he didn’t have a ton of ball-handling responsibility with the Bulldgos, but he projects as someone who can defend either guard spot well enough. The big question for his development will be whether his shot comes along well enough to present a threat and not cramp spacing.

As a senior, Savage shot just 29.2 percent on a low volume of threes, and he didn’t shoot any more or any better in three years at George Washington prior to that. Over the entirety of his college career, he averaged 8.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 0.9 steals in 22 minutes, posting a 52.9 true-shooting percentage. He also proved a little turnover prone early in his career but really cut down on those as the years went on. His upside comes primarily on the defensive end, where his length, motor, and athleticism make him a potential lock-down piece.

He can also really, really get up, making him a potentially suitable replacement for the outbound John Jordan as the team’s dunk contest representative.

Liam McMorrow – Round 2, Pick 52

Born in Vancouver, Liam McMorrow was raised in Toronto and eventually landed at West Hill in Toronto, though he still had hockey aspirations at that point. A physical player on the ice, McMorrow began transitioning to basketball in 2008. He played a year at Durham College, transferred to Marquette and red-shirted, then lost another year to transfer to Tennessee Tech. In two seasons there, he averaged 3.7 points and 3.1 rebounds in 12.2 minutes, shooting 57.9 percent from the floor.

His late start makes for a bit of a late-bloomer story, and McMorrow has been honing his craft in Asia the last few seasons. He had a brief cup of coffee in the G-League in 2012-13, spent a season with the Halifax Rainmakers of the Canadian NBL in 2014-15 (where he was a part of the famously cancelled championship game, for which he was fined), and then played in the Philippines and Chinese CBA. He’s also gotten Summer League looks from the Knicks, Clippers, and Pelicans. Now 7-foot-2 and 275 pounds, the 30-year-old will try to stick on the roster as a depth big, where his physicality could make him a plus-rebounder at the G-League level.

Eric Washington – Round 3, Pick 73

A 5-foot-10 point guard, Eric Washington went undrafted out of Miami Ohio in 2016 and spent his first professional season playing in Cyprus. During his two seasons at Miami Ohio, Washington averaged 14 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.5 steals, shooting 44.5 percent from the floor and 35.5 percent on three 3-point attempts per-game. Prior to Miami Ohio, he’d spent two years at Presbyterian in the Big South, averaging 7.2 points and 4.6 assists before sitting out a year to transfer.

Washington played a big role in Cyprus, averaging 32.1 minutes and putting up 13.1 points on 52.1-percent true-shooting. He also averaged 3.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.9 steals but did commit turnovers on nearly 26 percent of the possessions he used. It was a mixed bag, which should be expected for a rookie. If he can crack the 905 roster, he’ll provide depth at the point guard spot and some secondary playmaking, particularly when Lorenzo Brown is with the Raptors.

Jamaal Brantley – Round 3, Pick 78

Another former senior, Jamaal Brantley played two seasons at Volunteer State Community College before landing with Cameron University for his final two college seasons. He averaged 12.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists over those two years with Cameron, taking major statistical strides in his second year and slowly introducing a bit of an outside threat to his game. Undrafted in 2016, I can’t find information on where the 6-foot-6 Brantley, a small forward, may have played last year. He did, however, attend the 905’s open tryout in September.

Round 4, Pick 104 – Foregone

The 905 passed on making a fifth selection.

It can be difficult to find talent in the oddity that is the G-League Draft, and while the 905 certainly have misses on their ledger, even finding capable talent like Melvin Johnson or Antwaine Wiggins is a modest victory given the league drafting context.

Displayed a little differently, here’s where the 905 have received their contributions from through two years, using Win Shares because it’s the most consistently available G-League advanced stat. 

Each of the players drafted will now fight for a spot on the opening-night roster. If any crack that roster, the draft will be considered a success.

The players will be flown into Toronto over the course of the weekend, with training camp set to officially open on Monday and Media Day taking place Wednesday. The roster for camp can be as large as 17, including the two-way players. Among those at camp will be the following:

  • Kyle Wiltjer – waived by Raptors in camp, he’s agreed to join Raptors 905 as an Affiliate Player
  • Kennedy Meeks – waived by Raptors in camp, he’s agreed to join Raptors 905 as an Affiliate Player; signed an Exhibit 10 contract this summer, so will receive a $50,000 bonus if he stays with the 905 for 60 days.
  • Davion Berry – waived by Raptors in camp, Raptors 905 already hold his G-League rights, and he’s agreed to rejoin them; signed an Exhibit 10 contract a few weeks back, so will receive a $50,000 bonus if he stays with the 905 for 60 days.
  • Edy Tavares – waived by the Cavaliers in camp, Raptors 905 hold his G-League rights, and he’s agreed to rejoin them. He may not be at the very start of camp due to visa issues still being sorted out.
  • Negus Webster-Chan – a local tryout walk-on last year, Raptors 905 already hold his G-League rights, and he’s agreed to rejoin them.
  • Two-Ways: Lorenzo Brown and Malcolm Miller are on two-way contracts with the Raptors can can only be in the NBA for 45 days between Monday and the end of the G-League season.

The 905 still also technically have two Affiliate Player slots they can use, though Alfonzo McKinnie and K.J. McDaniels would both be ineligible if waived. They also hold the No. 5 waiver priority, should any players sign G-League contracts late and make themselves available that way.

Teams have to trim their roster to 12 (including two-ways) by Nov. 2, not including any potential NBA assignments. The season officially gets underway Nov. 3, when the parent club can begin assigning players, but the 905 don’t tip of their regular-season schedule until Nov. 5.

Here’s how the 905 camp roster and rights sheet looks at present:

In other notes: Mychal Mulder (Canadian!) and Cole Huff, who were with the Raptors at Las Vegas Summer League, were picked in the first round; Ryerson product Aaron Best was selected 42nd overall by the Long Island Nets; Once rosters are finalized, I’ll probably put a post up listing the Canadians in the G-League, as it could definitely impact the senior men’s national team for FIBA qualifiers; Former Raptors Summer Leaguer and Bruno Caboclo translator Scott Machado is back stateside and went 10th overall; Tony Wroten slid to 49th; teams can forego picks once they’ve made three selections.

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