Are the Raptors Showcasing Quincy Acy?
It is hardly a secret that the Toronto Raptors would like to make a trade to improve their roster this season, but one of the issues is they already traded away their first round pick to acquire Kyle Lowry from Houston and don’t have sweetener to include in a deal to acquire another organization’s talent. The Raptors do have an athletic second round pick, but Quincy Acy had only played in four games before Christmas and this was despite head coach Dwane Casey going twelve men deep in his rotation numerous times at the start of the season. An under-sized power forward, Acy looked like the typical second round pick that has trouble adjusting to the speed and the skill of the NBA game.
“In the first part of the year he was kind of what do I do next defensively and offensively,” Casey said.
“Everybody is bigger, faster and stronger,” Acy said. “So it is getting confidence and adjusting to your competition every night. It is a learning experience for me and I think I will adjust as long as I keep working hard and keep learning.”
With the injuries to Raptors’ big men Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas in December and the return from injury of wing players Alan Anderson and Landry Fields, Casey has played a lot of small ball with more success than earlier in the year. It took a while, but the impact on the lineup did eventually provide the excuse to give Acy some minutes and the rookie has appeared in 10 games in January and played more than 10 minutes in five of them.
“Ed [Davis] and Amir [Johnson] are logging a lot of minutes and that’s why I want to get Q [Acy] in there quite a bit,” Casey said. “It is wearing on them and that’s why Q has to step up.”
“I was surprised [to play when it mattered], but I just got in there and played hard,” Acy said after playing the Bucks. “I made a couple of mistakes today, but that is a part of learning. The coach had the confidence in me to put me in the game, so next time I am going to have to learn from my mistakes, so next time he puts me in there, I don’t make those same mistakes.”
As Acy has played a few minutes on a regular basis, the 22-year-old has started to make an impression. The game has been slowing down for him and he has made plays not usually associated with a rookie second round pick.
“The game is finally starting to slow down for him a little bit,” Aaron Gray said. “He is figuring out what he is doing wrong. He went from a game [Bucks] where he was missing rotations left and right to the next game [versus the Bulls] where he takes four charges.”
“[Now] he has a better feel defensively knowing when to rotate, knowing when to screen, how to screen, being aggressive without having to get in a fight with somebody and understanding being tough,” Casey said. “That’s toughness, mental toughness. He is doing a much better job of recognizing that. The coaches have done a heck of a job of working with his shot too, knocking down free throws, knocking down jump shots.”
Acy is only averaging 2.9 points and 2.0 rebounds in eight minutes per game this season, but he is shooting 55.2 percent from the field and has an impressive offensive rating of 128 points produced per 100 possessions. If someone believes Acy could develop into a player who matched his per 36 minute production of 13.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.7 blocks, then the Raptors will have showcased a second round pick that could be considered a sweetener in a future trade.
Acy is not going to play in every game for the Raptors until Bargnani and Valanciunas get back. In Orlando, Casey went back to his successful small ball lineup to squeeze out a much needed win and Acy didn’t see the floor. However, the Raptors have showcased Acy successfully in January and whether it’s for a future deal or in order to assess his future prospects with the Raptors, the young forward has shown he is worth another look.