Three Things to Expect During the Raptors 905 Season


With the Raptors 905 ready to kick off their season this Saturday, keep an eye on these three story lines moving forward for the NBA-D League’s newest team.

Sim Bhullar will be given every chance to succeed.

He is the Raptors 905 most notable signing, and despite Sim Bhullar’s slow statistical start through three pre-season games, the 7-foot-5 Brampton native will be given every chance  to make a difference for this team through the season.

Bhullar has shown potential in being effective at the D-League, averaging 10.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game last season with the Reno Big Horns in 39 games. His only true limitation would be his cardio, something that is understandable with his current weight at 365 pounds.

That is a lot of human being to move from one end of the paint to the other, no matter the conditioning.

Apr 8, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Sacramento Kings center Sim Bhullar (32) dribbles the ball as Utah Jazz forward Jack Cooley (45) defends during the fourth quarter at EnergySolutions Arena. Utah Jazz on the game 103-91. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Expect his shot altering ability to always be a big factor if he keeps his energy level up while on the court, something he showed in spades for Canada during the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto this past summer.

While he may never be a consistent starter in the NBA, at just 22 years old, Bhullar’s potential and previous flashes of great play should be enough to keep him on the Raptors 905 roster for the entirety of the season.

Expect Bruno Caboclo and Anthony Bennett to be sent down to play for the Raptors 905 during the course of the season.

One thing you can guarantee about an NBA D-League roster – changes will be made and made quickly as the season progresses.

The whole idea of starting up a D-League team is to give some of the players on the end of your NBA roster, usually recently drafted prospects, some much-needed playing time to stay sharp and continue to work on their game.

There are few practices during the course of an 82 game NBA season, the schedule is just too demanding, and there is only so much you can work on when most of your floor time is during morning shoot around before a game.

October 5, 2015; San Jose, CA, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Bruno Caboclo (20) controls the basketball during the first half in a preseason game against the Golden State Warriors at SAP Center. The Warriors defeated the Raptors 95-87. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

That is why you shouldn’t be too shocked when you see the likes of Anthony Bennett, or Bruno Caboclo, getting sent down for service time in the coming weeks with the Raptors 905.

Both players have seen little, if any floor time with the big club, and having them around during the beginning of the NBA season now seems like it was more of a way to keep them sharp, before the D-League season began.

Both players still have the potential to be great contributors to the NBA, but Caboclo will need considerably more playing time to realize this, while Bennett just needs to figure out exactly what type of player he is in a less scrutinizing environment.

The Raptors 905 now provides both players with a place to do those things, and it should certainly provide a major upgrade to this roster when they both eventually come down.

This team might actually have a shot at surviving in Mississauga

Mississauga has a brutal history in supporting local professional teams, much due to its incredibly close proximity to Toronto.

Most Mississauga residents would prefer the 40 minute GO Bus ride from Square One to Union station to catch a Blue Jays or Raptors game, rather than travelling out to the Hershey Centre to watch a semi pro or major junior team for whatever sport.

The Raptors 905, however, were able to draw just over 1,000 people to their first ever game, no small feat when there was hardly any word out in the media that the team was even playing.

Despite it being a 102-83 exhibition loss to the Erie Bay Hawks, the people that did show up impressed Head Coach Jesse Mermuys.

Oct 12, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Anthony Bennett (15) boxes out Minnesota Timberwolves forward Adreian Payne (33) in pursuit of a rebound at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Timberwolves 112-107. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

“I was blown away,” said Mermuys. “I mean Sunday for an exhibition game for a team that is brand new? You know we don’t really have a following and we probably don’t have the complete word out that we even exist.”

Even more impressive, was how most fans managed to stay through to the end despite the blowout.

“I thought it was a really great turn out,” said Mermuys. “I was really impressed and that just goes to the fans here. It’s just really amazing. None of them left, we were getting blown out and we weren’t really playing very well and they stayed there, they cheered us on.”

It really is only one game, and it remains to be seen how the crowds will look when the regular season starts up, and the novelty wears off.

Next: PHOTO: Raptors 905 Reveal Jerseys

But as said before, with a number of Raptors from the big club suiting up very soon for the 905, it will give legitimacy to this team that no other, in any sport, has ever had while playing in Canada’s sixth largest city.