5. Reaction to late-game dunk misplaced
We get it. There are unwritten rules in sports. Among those is that when the shot clock is off and your team is in the lead, you just let the clock expire.
Jordan Loyd of the Toronto Raptors did not do that Wednesday night. He picked off a bad pass from Dzanan Musa and sprinted downcourt for a running one-handed dunk with 1.3 seconds remaining.
Jared Dudley, the elder statesman of the Brooklyn Nets, was not pleased and sought out Loyd after the game to tell him of his transgression.
Similarly, coach Kenny Atkinson confronted Toronto coach Nick Nurse after the buzzer to express his displeasure with Loyd’s violation of NBA etiquette.
Was it rubbing it in? Sure, it could be seen that way. And had the act been perpetrated by one of the guys on the Toronto roster that is already assured of a spot on the club when the regular season starts, the outrage would be more genuine.
But here’s the thing.
Jordan Loyd did not come from one of the college basketball powerhouses as a lottery prospect. Loyd, after playing parts of two seasons at Furman University in South Carolina — a mid-major program — transferred to Division II Indianapolis for three seasons.
When he left Indianapolis in 2016, he was undrafted. He was so far off the radar, Loyd didn’t even get an invitation to play anywhere in the NBA Summer League.
He did catch on with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the G League in 2016-17, playing 49 games — 30 off the bench — and averaging 15 points, four rebounds and four assists per game.
That at least got him a Summer League look, both with the Indiana Pacers in Orlando and with the Raptors in Las Vegas, but despite averaging 11.3 points per game in Vegas, no contract offer manifested.
Instead, Loyd played last season in Israel.
After getting a second Summer League look from the Raptors in July, Loyd signed a two-way deal with Toronto on Aug. 3.
The six minutes he played in the fourth quarter Wednesday ran his preseason total to 35 in four games. For a kid trying to secure a job in the NBA, every possession in a preseason game is precious.
Particularly when you are a “kid” who is already 25 years old and are getting your first chance to make an NBA club.
There are only so many opportunities to make an impression on a front office, a coaching staff. Loyd made a play. He got the steal, saw open floor and made a play. Should he have? That’s open to interpretation. But let’s not bury the guy because he’s trying to maximize his chances.