'Humbling' NBA Draft experience has Alkins looking to impress for Toronto
Toronto Raptors guard Rawle Alkins shoots the basketball during pregame warmups before an NBA Summer League game on July 6, 2018 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev.
LAS VEGAS — Sitting on the bench during the entire first half probably wasn’t what Rawle Alkins probably had in mind when he dressed in Toronto Raptors gear to begin the 2018 Vegas Summer League.
But Alkins made most of his 15 second half minutes count as he came off of the bench and scored 12 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. Sinking two 3-pointers while pulling his weight on defense, Alkins was the only member of the Raptors who posted a positive plus/minus stat as he was a plus-14 while his teammates produced minus-14, -14, and -19, respectively.
The undrafted guard is using the fact he wasn’t selected in last month’s NBA Draft as motivation, allowing the frustration and the unknown fuel his competitive spirit, not break it.
“I’m always motivated, I guess you could say it was a humbling experience, I didn’t really expect that, but when it happened, I had to move to the next step. You can’t think about it throughout the process, you just have to keep moving forward,” Alkins said.
Alkins, who signed a two-way contract with the Raptors in late June, let out some of that pent-up frustration in the fourth quarter as he picked up a loose ball at half court and threw down a reverse slam that drew “ooh’s” and “ah’s” from the Las Vegas crowd. The dunk was a perfectly timed exclamation point on Alkins' Summer League debut.
The Las Vegas crowd weren’t the only ones impressed by Alkins' debut. Toronto’s newly hired head coach Nick Nurse had nothing but praise for the perimeter player from the Bronx.
“He took the opportunities that were there, they backed off of him after he drove a couple times, and he stuck a three, they pressed up on him, and he drove it. He played hard and he was productive. He did things well on both ends,” Nurse said.
In what started out like a forgettable afternoon from Alkins, turned into one that looked like a stepping stone into a successful summer campaign for the former Arizona swingman as he looks to scratch and claw in the Nevada desert for a spot on an NBA roster.
“I'm a competitor, I don’t like losing. So when coach gave me the opportunity to get on the court I tried to give it my all,” Alkins said.
If Alkins continues to play the way he did on Friday, those opportunities won't be drying up any time soon.
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