Four veteran rotation pieces were sacrificed this offseason. P.J. Tucker and Patrick Patterson walked away as free agents, while Cory Joseph and DeMarre Carroll were moved in trades to clear salary. C.J. Miles was signed to replace some of the lost 3-point shooting on the wing, but that still leaves vacancies at backup point guard and small forward.
"I think it's a big opportunity for both of us," Wright told theScore at the Nike Crown League in Toronto on Friday night. "It's time for us to show what we can do and take it to the next level."
Wright and Powell decimated the competition to help Team M.A.D.E. emerge victorious over Team 6Man in the Crown League championship game. Wright nailed three triples in the second half, while Powell got to the rim at will en route to Finals MVP honors.
Granted, the Raptors will need more out of their young guards than just some strong production in an open run. But playing in the Crown League made for good training in the summer, and, as a bonus, Wright and Powell were able to treat local fans to a sneak peak of what's to come.
"For Toronto, they know that we're on the Raptors, to come out after the season and show face, give them a show, give them something to look forward going into next year," Powell said. "It was a lot of fun."
Raptors fans are thoroughly familiar with Powell, who emerged as an unlikely hero in each of the last two playoff runs. The 24-year-old is an explosive finisher at the basket, a physical defender, and has increasingly become a knockdown 3-point shooter. He'll be in competition with Miles for the starting small forward spot.
Powell excelled in that role last season, averaging 15.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists while hitting 49.8 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from deep across 18 starts.
The Raptors are also putting their faith in Wright to be their backup point guard. He hasn't seen much run with the Raptors due to a shoulder injury, and with two proven guards in Joseph and Kyle Lowry ahead of him on the depth chart. In limited minutes, the 25-year-old has shown to be a crafty floor general and a disruptive defender.
Wright showcased his talents as a backup when Lowry was injured after the All-Star break last season. He averaged 12.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.2 steals, and 0.9 blocks per 36 minutes.
Toronto drafted both Wright and Powell in the 2015 draft. After two years of development in the D-League, on the bench, and as fringe rotation pieces, their time has finally come.