After impressing in his brief spell with the team, the Toronto Raptors have handed forward Freddie Gillespie a second 10-day contract.
The Saint Paul, Minnesota native has averaged 5.8 points, 4.2 total rebounds (2.6 defensive) and has been throwing .619 on field goals and .750 on free throws in his first-ever stint in the NBA.
He has fit in well with the Raptors’ group, and has impressed the injury-struck team well enough to receive another 10-day deal which should see him play at least a further five games for the team before a decision needs to be made on the rest of the season and beyond.
Gillespie’s impressive start to life in the NBA could see him earn a longer-term deal in Toronto, where he will continue to play a role in Nick Nurse’s rotation, currently averaging 16 minutes per game.
The 6-foot-9, 245lbs forward attracted the Raptors’ attention after an impressive bubble season in the NBA G League, where he was selected second overall by the Memphis Hustle in the 2021 Draft.
He went undrafted in the NBA Draft, having played his college career with the Baylor Bears, but had a solid season in Memphis – averaging 10.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and hitting .570 on field goals, with his defensive efforts the most attractive for a Toronto Raptors team needing help around the boards.
Basketball Reference’s Player Efficiency Rating has Gillespie sitting above average in his five NBA games so far, with a rating of 16.3 (league average is 15), and his per 36 stats see him sitting at 13.1 average points, an indicator that he could provide more offence to the team if granted a larger role.
Fans are already calling for Gillespie to receive a long-term deal with the team, especially with plenty of changes expected to be made this off-season, and it would not be surprising if he at least earns another deal that keeps him with the team into the summer.
For now, he will have an opportunity to continue to impress and potentially improve his overall production as he becomes fully comfortable with the pace and style of the NBA.
All long-term decisions will be made by the team in the off-season, which could come sooner rather than later if the Raptors find themselves finishing outside of the play-in places, but Gillespie’s performances so far may give the organisation pause for thought when considering how to take the team forward in 2021/22.