There was nothing easy about the decision the Toronto Raptors made to part ways with Ishmail Wainright over the weekend. He was, by all accounts, a great guy to have around the organization. He worked hard, brought a positive vibe, and looked pretty good in limited action.
It just came down to fit, Raptors coach Nick Nurse said Monday.
"It was really tough. I think it really could have went either way when you consider those two guys for sure," Nurse said, referring to Wainright and Sam Dekker who were fighting for one spot. "I’d probably say [Ish] did a great job. I thought he played good in Summer League. I thought he worked hard to improve I thought he did improve.
"I [would] just probably say that Sam's probably got a little bit more versatility with his size to bump up the lineup. And like I said health-wise we’re a little thin with Pascal [Siakam], Chris [Boucher], and Yuta [Watanabe] and Sam probably bumps up way easier than Ish does."
It may have simply come down to three inches for Wainright who at 6-foot-5, 250-pounds was just a little bit shorter than the 6-foot-9 Dekker who the Raptors think can play a little bit bigger than his 220-pound frame would suggest.
It sounds like Watanabe isn't going to be ready for Wednesday's season opener which is certainly a bummer for Japanese fans who have been hoping to see Rui Hachimura and Watanabe play against one another. Toronto and Washington played three times last season but the league's only Japanese players were never healthy at the same time to share the court together.
Fortunately for Toronto, Boucher is "getting closer," Nurse said. If he's not back by the season opener, he shouldn't be out much longer.