Amit Mann and Joshua Howe discuss the backup point guard position and how Jeff Dowtin Jr. could earn minutes with the Raptors. Listen to the full episode discussing training camp battles at each position on our 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed or watch on our YouTube channel.
AMIT MANN: Another player who played in summer league-- Jeff Dowtin, Jr. I'm going to ask you, straight up-- is there a path to Jeff Dowtin, Jr. Getting backup point guard minutes?
JOSHUA HOWE: So are we talking backup point guard minutes-- he's just getting some minutes? Or are we talking like converting his two-way into standard contract?
AMIT MANN: I think we're talking the latter. Maybe? Yeah. He's on a two-way, right? So he will play some games, I think, with the Raptors at some point.
But these are the camp battles, right? And these are the things that we're going to be able to see. When they're playing scrimmages in training camp and, if Jeff is performing really well, two players that I think-- I'm not really sure if they're going to be-- I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't with the Raptors in opening night-- Malachi Flynn and Ken Burch. Those were the two that are earmarked to me.
I'm not saying it's going to happen. I'm just saying-- with some of the players that they obviously have waiting-- Josh Jackson-- what if Josh Jackson really performs well? What if he's like, hey, whatever you guys need, I will do it. Now you have like a guard forward with some upside. Then you got DJ Wilson, who I think is an NBA player. They obviously like him.
There is something here, maybe. There could be a path to some of these things happening.
But Jeff Dowtin, Jr-- starting with him. He had a terrific summer league. He does a lot of things that the Raptors would want from a backup point guard in a role setting, things that they've wanted from Malachi Flynn. Malachi hasn't been able to do it, at least consistently.
And there's been, I guess, a bit of confusion on like what Malachi Flynn's role is with the Raptors, what could it be in the future. You got Dalano Banton there, too. We're going to get to that some of that stuff in a second.
But starting with Jeff, what are your thoughts on him and what his role could be with the big club this year, if at all?
JOSHUA HOWE: Yeah, so we talked about-- earlier-- about how the Raptors do have a lack of guard depth. And both of their two way guys can play the guard spot, or are guards, straight up. Dowtin is a guard.
And summer league-- if he can carry over what he was doing in summer league to training camp and then potentially to the 905 and then potentially to the Raptors, he's going to get some minutes. Just adding a guy who can score to this team as-- especially as a secondary, tertiary option is a big deal. Even just having a guy who could act as a release valve-- that's one of the things with Malachi that he's struggled with a bit. Just hit some of those 3's, man, consistently.
That's a plus. That's a bonus. It opens things up for the rest of the team.
You don't want him coming in and deciding, all right, I'm the guy now. I'm going to be Gary Trent, Jr, and I'm taking 10 shots in the first 5 minutes.
But he has the ability to play make. He can get to his spots. He's so good at stopping, on a dime, those kind of-- and then putting up those little floaters. Things like that. That's useful stuff as a backup guard for any team.
So on the defensive end guarding, at the NBA level may be a bit tougher for him. He's a little bit smaller. Running into screens, that kind of thing may be a bit tougher for him at that level. But there's definitely a path, to your point. There's definitely a path to him getting backup minutes. And I think we are guaranteed, at some point, to see him definitely on a two-way contract at some point, being called up and playing some backup minutes.
And-- who knows? I think best case scenario is he shows his stuff the 905 and comes up on his two-way deal and shows it, as well, at the NBA level. Yeah, best case scenario is the Raptors say, hey, you know what? You've been great we're. Going to convert your deal, and you're going to be part of the team. We'll find a way to make that work--
AMIT MANN: Sure.
JOSHUA HOWE: --at whatever point that happens throughout the season. I think that's the best case scenario that he can be looking forward to. But yeah, there's definitely some high expectations there.
AMIT MANN: Very high. Sure. And because of the small sample size we have of Jeff-- he spent most of last season in the G League. A few games here and there with a few different NBA teams, but mostly it was in the G League. And he had a great year from there.
And then you go to summer league. You analyze some of the Rico Hines stuff. And I'm just seeing a lot of the same things that he did in summer league he's able to do in those Rico Hines rounds.
I hesitate to go too deep into those because they're edited clips and so forth. But the fact he's hitting the same kinds of shots-- he's hitting those catch-and-shoot shots; he's hitting floaters; he's attacking bigs when he gets those opportunities; he's hitting shots in the mid-range. These are all very good signs.
I'm sure you know Fred VanVleet. He had his moment with-- I think, with, specifically, Jeff Dowtin, Jr. when he felt like a lot of guys were fouling a little bit too much. And there were clips specifically of Jeff Dowtin, Jr. fouling Fred. And Fred was talking to the whole team essentially. He was like, hey, if you guys are going to be doing this during the season, you're not going to play, so stop doing it. That's a factor. Defense first-- that's the Raptors mentality.
But in the end, you have a 6' 3" guard, which is still very tall for a point guard, who can hit shots, hopefully, who can attack the rim. He's got some versatility, great court sense. And that's what they want from a backup point guard because Pascal is going to play point guard minutes. Scottie Barnes is going to play point guard minutes.
You could see some inverted pick and rolls happening with those two, which could be really interesting because he's 6' 3". He's got some bulk to him. I think he could be a decent screener if he truly wants to be.
Who knows, man? Who knows, man? There's a lot of speculation probably happening within this podcast. But it's interesting because the Raptors have so many options, and that has been by design that-- the team has always wanted options. They don't want to be so rigid, saying, these are the 15 guys we're going to be going with.
They're saying, the ball's out there. Let's do a scrimmage. Let's see how things go. And Jeff has shown, so far in a smaller sample size, that there could be some synergy there with what the Raptors are wanting from a backup point guard. And I think that means--