Does D.J. Wilson have a shot at making the Raptors' opening night roster?

Amit Mann and Joshua Howe look at ways D.J. Wilson can stand out during training camp and earn a spot on the Raptors' roster for the 2022-23 season. 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.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: Between-- I'll start with DJ Wilson. Do you think he's got a realistic shot of-- or how does he get there? Because as we outlined, we probably think that Delano and Justin are going to be getting those last two spots. So how does he actually earn a spot on the opening night roster?

JOSHUA HOWE: Yeah. Yeah, I think like you said, he's-- Yeah, it's tough, right? I mean, he's on the outside looking in, I think.

AMIT MANN: Sure.

JOSHUA HOWE: That doesn't mean he can't make the roster. I mean, the Raptors clearly like him as well.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

JOSHUA HOWE: They've been circling each other for a while, and obviously, they brought him in last season during that really tough COVID stretch, some ridiculous games that everyone hopefully has forgotten by now. But yeah, I mean, to make the team, I guess he really just would have to be the epitome of his role. He's got to be competing against some of those other guys. Like, Hernangomez, for example--

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

JOSHUA HOWE: --feels kind of like the direct competitor, right? He's also 26 years old. They're around the same.

They both have some NBA experience and bounced around a bit but know what they're good at and generally stay within the confines there and bring what they need to the team. And really, I mean, another 6' 10" 7' 3" wingspan guy.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

JOSHUA HOWE: I think it's just, like, those are the guys he's got to kind of put a target on their back and say, like, those are the guys I got to outwork if I got to have a chance. And it's just tough because like we said, like, Hernangomez has that guaranteed deal.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

JOSHUA HOWE: DJ Wilson does not. So if there is a tiebreaker between those two guys, for example, you're probably going to see Juancho on the Raptors. But hey, man.

You never know. He could come in and light everything up, and Raptors decide, hey, we have some flexibility. We can eat that contract, and we'll sign Wilson instead.

AMIT MANN: Yeah, and I mean, camp battles are important to most teams but especially to the Raptors. They want people to kind of feel that heat, and they want to see how they perform under that pressure. DJ, like, I like him.

I think he's got a spot in the NBA. I'm just not sure if it's going to be with the Raptors. But if he comes in and he shoots, you know, lights out from 3, he's like an actual pick and pop big, if he's able to, you know, get the defensive concepts, be something of an anchor big at points, and play that cat and mouse game within the pick and roll and drop coverage really well, be very situationally aware on defense-- which, he actually has shown that he's got some chops there. Maybe, right?

Like, it's not out of the realm of possibility, and they have enough ball handlers. So it really is about, like, who can service the need of being that 3 point shooter better. And you might argue that Juancho probably is maybe a bit more of a versatile 3 point shooter, you could, and you could probably think that, hey, he might be-- Juany's going to be able to attack closeouts better and probably be a little bit more of a higher upside offensive player.

But it's not crazy to think that DJ could get there. And the Raptors are loyal too. They're giving him the shot because they believe in him and they believe in how he could impact their team when given the opportunity, while Juancho, I mean, they don't know him very well, right?

And sure, maybe he's been in the league a little bit longer. Maybe he's a little bit more experienced, perhaps. But still, in the end, the Raptors are a team that respects their players, and I could see it. I could see it. I think this probably is going to come down to more of a Juancho versus DJ Wilson thing, but the guaranteed deal is certainly a factor.