Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors keep Yuta Watanabe, Sam Dekker and Isaac Bonga, waive Ishmail Wainright

The Toronto Raptors front office had a tough decision on their hands in trying to trim down the training camp roster to 17 players ahead of the 2021-22 season.

The final cut ultimately came down to picking three players between the group of Yuta Watanabe, Sam Dekker, Isaac Bonga and Ishmail Wainright. The team announced on Saturday that they have waived Wainright, electing to keep Watanabe, Dekker and Bonga on the roster.

Wainright was a physical defensive specialist who may receive interest among other teams around the league with available roster spots.

In keeping Watanabe, the Raptors retain a player who has grown in the organization over the past year, going from a two-way contract to full-time NBA player during the 2019-20 season. His energy on both ends of the floor earned him more playing time as the year went on, and when Toronto was dealt a tough hand with injuries and coronavirus health and safety protocols, he became an everyday rotation player, even starting in four games.

Watanabe only appeared in one preseason game but he had a strong showing, going for 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal.

Dekker has by far the most NBA experience out of any player in the group, having competed in exactly 200 regular season games over four years in the league. His final outing in preseason proved he could be an asset to the Raptors' bench, going for 18 points while shooting 4-for-5 from 3-point range. Dekker's length, athleticism and shooting made him a sensible choice for Toronto's final roster.

Bonga has the most untapped potential of the foursome, which may have played a role in their final decision to keep him. Entering his fourth year in the NBA at just 21 years old, the Raptors' renowned player development system will leave its fingerprints on Bonga, a 6-foot-8 point forward whose versatility fits in nicely with the rest of the roster.

With the final roster set, the Raptors are ready to host the Washington Wizards at Scotiabank Arena in the first regular season game back in Toronto since February of 2020. Their season opener tips off on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. ET on TSN.

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