Isaac Bonga certainly appears to be in the driver seat for one of the Toronto Raptors’ final roster spots.
The 21-year-old forward will start for Toronto alongside Goran Dragic, Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes, and Precious Achiuwa in the Raptors’ final preseason game.
Coming into training camp, Bonga was one of the biggest unknowns. Even with three seasons of NBA experience under his belt, he hadn’t made much of an impact with the Los Angeles Lakers or Washington Wizards. He’d averaged just 3.3 points and shot 44% from the field across 128 games.
Whatever happened behind closed doors during training camp seems to have curried favor with Raptors coach Nick Nurse who has repeatedly praised Bonga.
“From what we’ve seen, [he’s] very, very coachable plays hard, makes very few mistakes, does a lot the little things,” Nurse said Monday. “Probably be a good addition.”
Assuming Bonga and Yuta Watanabe make the team, Toronto’s final roster spot is going to come down to Sam Dekker, Freddie Gillespie, Ishmail Wainright, and, to a lesser extent, Reggie Perry. Nurse said he along with Raptors general manager Bobby Webster, and team president Masai Ujiri will be looking at the skill of each player, their talent, size, and how well they’re grasping the team’s concepts.
“You’ve gotta try to project some of that stuff out because you’re not getting a ton of live game action to judge that on,” Nurse said prior to Tuesday’s game. “Some of it’ll be on a hunch, man.”
Whatever decisions are made are expect to come pretty quickly, Nurse said. He’d like to get the roster set as soon as possible and then begin getting the roster together and practicing ahead of opening night on October 20.