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Veteran Garrett Temple takes Toronto’s final available roster spot


Veteran forward Garrett Temple has taken Toronto’s final available roster spot. Temple, 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, spent last year with New Orleans and has played 13 seasons in the NBA (2009-11, 2012-23) with 11 teams. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but reports say F Garrett Temple has agreed on a one-year, $3.2M deal with the Toronto Raptors.

Four years ago, the Toronto Raptors looked like rising stars in the NBA, fresh off a championship with the help of Kawhi Leonard and breakout Most Improved Player Pascal Siakam. They followed up their championship run with the second-best record in the league in the 2019-2020 season (even with Leonard leaving the Six to play for his hometown team, the Los Angeles Clippers), good enough to win Nick Nurse the coach of the year award for his efforts from the bench as they fell just short in Game 7 of the conference semifinals. It’s been all downhill from there, though, with the trusty veterans who helped turn the Raptors into a championship team all having left town or retired and Nurse fired at the end of last season.

A Gap to Fill

With just four of the 21 players on their offseason roster over the age of 30, the Raptors have one of the youngest teams in all of basketball, a marked difference from the years when they had the likes of Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet and Marc Gasol to rely on. In order to address the need for veteran leadership in the first year under new head coach Darko Rajakovic, the Raptors went out and signed 13-year NBA veteran Garrett Temple last week. While he may not move the needle in a way like he used to, he’s a veteran leader who has the respect of players around the league.

Temple owns career averages of 6.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 20.9 minutes in 716 games (288 starts). Temple also played one season overseas, appearing in 28 games with Novipiù Casale Monferrato in Italy during the 2011-12 campaign.

Raptors sign F Garrett Temple
Temple with the Washington Wizards in 2013. photo by Keith Allison – FlickrGarrett Temple censed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Averaging 20.9 minutes per game over the course of his career (a number heavily boosted by his prime from 2015 to 2021, when he saw time as an occasional starter), Temple has never been a full-time player. He’s best deployed as a rotational player, known for his defense (amassing an excellent defensive rating of 109.7 over the course of his career.

The Raptors have made a name for themselves based on hard-nosed defensive play in the past (Siakam and Leonard’s contributions in that vein are part of what keyed their 2019 championship run), so if Temple is able to enjoy a late-career renaissance, he could fit right in with that tendency in mind.

Other signings

Gueye, 6-foot-9, 210 pounds, averaged 8.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.9 blocks and 20.7 minutes in 29 Showcase Cup and regular season games with the Texas Legends in the NBA G League last season. He shot .576 (102-177) from the field and scored in double figures 13 times. A native of Staten Island, New York, Gueye played two seasons at Stony Brook (2019-21) before transferring to Pittsburgh (2021-22) where he became the first player in Panthers history to lead the team in both three-point field goals (43) and blocks (67) in the same season.

​ Obanor, 6-foot-8, 235 pounds, was an All-Big 12 Honourable Mention last season after averaging team highs of 14.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 31.0 minutes in 32 games (all starts) as a fifth-year senior at Texas Tech. He scored in double digits in 24 contests, including 20 or more eight times, and recorded two double-doubles. The Houston native played three seasons at Oral Roberts (2018-21) prior to transferring to Texas Tech for his final two years of college eligibility (2021-23). 

It’s always fascinating to see how a new head coach impacts a team, and you can follow what Rajakovic and the Raptors do this upcoming season with the top Ontario online casinos.

A Look at Rajakovic

Rajakovic broke into the NBA as a coach in the early 2010s, serving as the head man for developmental league teams like the Tulsa 66ers. After a few years in that role, Rajakovic began moving around the NBA as an assistant coach, making a name for himself because of his knack for developing young talents like Steven Adams, Victor Oladipo and Dennis Schröder. Now an entrenched veteran starter in his own right, Schröder rejoined his former mentor in Toronto this offseason, giving the Raptors an interesting combo to build around.

Rajakovic later served as an assistant coach for the Memphis Grizzlies, overseeing the youth movement and rebuild (which included six straight seasons with a losing record) that saw them play to the second-best record in the Western Conference last season: the performance that earned him the head coaching job in Toronto.

While he may not need much help tutoring a young team (that’s why the Raptors brought him to town, after all), Temple can certainly add a valuable presence in Rajakovic’s toolkit as a career journeyman who knows what it takes to succeed in the league, no matter if he sticks with the team throughout the season or serves a role as a sort of extra coach during training camp, helping to bring the young Raptors along.

The Raptors have seen significant turnover already this off-season, and it looks like they might have to deal with even more of it before the season begins, as team president Masai Ujiri seems hell-bent on trading Siakam and kicking the rebuild into full swing.

If Ujiri ends up finding a worthwhile deal to ship the forward out of town, the Raptors defense could end up hurting as a result. While he’s smaller than Siakam, Temple has played as a wing throughout his professional career: he could be the first in a series of steps to filling the void a Siakam trade would leave in the Raptors’ roster.

SOURCE notes and lead image Toronto Raptors

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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