Though the G League season is still in its infancy, the Raptors 905 have already played six of their sixteen games leading up to the Showcase Cup, a mid-season tournament implemented during the 2021-2022 season. With a record of four wins and two losses, the 905 currently possess the sixth best record in the entire G League, and even through losses, the team isare proving that the delicate balance between development and winning is an attainable one, and one that the organization as a whole continues to excel at.
The Raptors 905 began the season with something to prove and a chip on their collective shoulders. Not only have the players been breaking personal records, but team records at the same time. Prior to the beginning of the current season, the record for total points scored in a single Showcase Cup game was 120 in a win over the Capital City Go-Go. The 905 have already broken this record three times over, most recently scoring 129 points against Delaware.
The record for free throws made in a Showcase Cup game seemed impossible to beat, with two players (Breein Tyree and Reggie Perry) making six of their free throws. Only four games into the season. Saben Lee’s innate ability to play through contact and get to the line allowed him to make seven of his twelve attempted free throws in a win over the Westchester Knicks. LeeSaben’s willingness to put his body on the line has been a key component of the 905’s 4-2 record. His 11 assists against the Delaware Blue Coats broke David Johnson’s 10 Showcase Cup assists and set the new team record while giving him his first double-double of the season.
Christian Vital’s four steals in a single game put him in elite company, becoming one of only five players (Isaac Bonga, Dalano Banton, Kevon Harris, Jawun Evans, and Saben Lee in the season opener) to have four or more steals in a single Showcase Cup game. This record was reset when Ron Harper Jr. recorded five steals against the Delaware Blue Coats in a game that was heavy on the offence, proving the importance of always maintaining a defensive presence. Harper also recorded four blocks in the same game, just a single block short of Romaro Gill’s five block record, and his six made threes make him the only player to make six or more threes since Andrew Rowsey in 2021.
Just 72 hours prior to his game winning block against the Detroit Pistons, Jeff Dowtin Jr. recorded three blocks against the Westchester Knicks, setting a new career high that excited the second year player. “That means I’m playing way better defence!” he exclaimed postgame, not knowing that three days later, the same defensive progress would give the Raptors their first win over the Pistons in seven games.
With the G League scheduling a multitude of games in a series format to cut down on travel time and its carbon footprint, new head coach Eric Khoury has stressed the importance of never splitting a series since the beginning of training camp.
Of the six games played, the 905 have only split one series via a game two loss to the Capital City Go-Go. Quickly regrouping, they have yet to split a series since.
This same game saw the Raptors 905 score only six points off of the bench, a stat that did not sit well with the players individually or the team as a whole. The very next day the bench, and Christian Vital in particular, saw the need for bench scoring and delivered. Of the 52 bench points, Vital scored 24 of them. Since game two, the Raptors 905 bench have never scored less than 25 points.
Though the sample size is small, the message is clear: The Raptors 905 are locked in. Currently sitting in a position to advance to the Showcase Cup, they show no signs of slowing down. Each game sees a personal or team accomplishment reached, or a record broken. The Raptors 905, no matter if they are playing G League rivals or NBA lottery picks, have taken only six games to prove that they can hang with the best of them.