The NBA Summer League has officially ended. After 10 days, teams have a better sense of the young players that have a chance to make an impact during their rookie years. This includes the Toronto Raptors and the potential of Ron Harper Jr.
The former Rutgers star signed a two-way contract with the Toronto Raptors shortly after going undrafted during the 2022 NBA Draft. What we knew right away is that the Raptors were getting a player with great experience and size at 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds. What we did not know was how his game would translate to the next level.
Harper Jr. played in and started all five games for the Raptors, who finished 4-1. He averaged 9.9 points and led Toronto with 25 total rebounds.
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Harper Jr. struggled from three-point range during his junior year at Rutgers. He shot 31% but rebounded as a senior, shooting 39.8% from beyond the arc. This was a selling point heading into the draft. During the Summer League, Harper Jr. could not find his shot from deep.
In five games, Harper Jr. finished 6-for-23 from three-point range. He found a way to score in different ways, especially from the free throw line. He shot 17-for-18 from the charity stripe. Harper Jr. has the body to compete physically at the next level and that was on display from the opening game.
Harper Jr. improved each game. He put up his best performance during an 88-78 victory over the Miami Heat. Harper Jr. finished 6-for-12 from the field, totaling 14 points and seven rebounds. He followed that up with 10 points on 3-for-10 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the finale against the Milwaukee Bucks.
If you look at the box scores, it is clear that Harper Jr. left plenty to be desired from three-point range. What the box score does not show is Harper Jr.’s ability to get out in transition. He runs the floor well and is strong on the defensive end. He showed that he can compete on the glass and has a high basketball IQ.
The Raptors have a rich history of finding gems as undrafted free agents, Fred VanVleet for example. The plan for Harper Jr. is unknown but he would make the bench for Toronto better if given a chance.