The Toronto Raptors fell to 0-3 on Monday after losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Summer League action. Teams don't tend to overreact to wins and losses at Summer League, but publicly, winning and building winning habits are a priority.
So is player development, something the Raptors have excelled at in recent years. Their marquee attraction in Vegas, O.G. Anunoby finally had somewhat of a breakout game on Monday. Anunoby went for a team-high 19 points, six rebounds and had two blocks - one of which looked like he was serving at Wimbledon. Head coach Nick Nurse has allowed Anunoby to try and showcase some skills he might not be able to show within the confines of the Raptors' ball movement offence.
"He made a few shots today and that helps," Nurse told the media postgame. "We're experimenting a bit, probably giving him a lot more rope.
"Giving him a little bit more rope to play and dance with it a little bit. Midway through the game, I said 'ok now we got to get back to point five basketball. You're either going to catch it, drive it, or shoot it.
"But that's what we're here for to let him have a little bit of rope to do some things, he's earned it."
Anunoby also saw time playing the four position on Monday, something Raptor fans will see throughout the season. In the free-flowing offence, Toronto has installed, Nurse doesn't see it as much more than a talking point.
"Where we play him doesn't really matter," Nurse continued. "As long as he's not playing (the) five it doesn't really matter (if he plays) two, three, four for us the way our offence is."
Canadian Chris Boucher also got extended minutes in game three - extended time by Summer League standards. Boucher played 13 minutes and finished with six points and four rebounds. While some mistakes were made in his minutes on the floor, he did enough to express his head coach who promised he'd see more time going forward.
"He did ok, I think he did ok," Nurse said of Boucher. "He banged a couple shots - he's young and learning, tries hard, athletic and all that stuff. It always helps when you bang in a couple shots. I don't think he looked that out of place out there."
Boucher who got waived by the Warriors just before Summer League didn't play in the Raptors' first two Summer League games, but Nurse was impressed that the Canadian stayed ready and tried to seize the opportunity provided to him - no matter how little.
"You can only build your confidence when you go out there and execute some stuff and to (Boucher) credit, it's not easy to sit around.
"You probably come to Summer League with really high hopes and then you don't play in a game or play a couple minutes here and there - then we finally give him some extended minutes and he makes the most of them.
"This is opportunity basketball for these guys, the windows are short sometimes but when they're out there they got to take advantage and he did today. He'll get another look because of that next time we play."