With their season hanging in the balance, Raptors Uprising knew they needed a change.
Mired in a 1-5 slump and sitting second-last in the standings, Raptors Uprising hadn’t exactly raced out of the gates, thanks in part to a difficult early schedule that pitted the team against some of the best point guards in the league. The team needed to find its identity, and, with only eight games left to chase a playoff berth, needed to find it fast.
Enter Trevion “All Hail Trey” Hendrix, the team’s fourth-round pick (58th overall) in the 2018 NBA 2K League draft.
“Trey is the type of player who just handles his business. He doesn’t get wrapped up in drama, and seems to be immune to the pressure of high stakes games,” said Shane Talbot, Esports Manager for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.
Raptors Uprising hit on a lineup that moved Trey to power forward. He proceeded to play a crucial role in helping the team find balance offensively. Most teams relied heavily on either a pick-and-roll offense or on an offense dominated by a small forward running the powerful shot-creating slasher build. The Raptors found the best of both worlds. Kenny, on the shot-creating slasher, improved his scoring and efficiency, while TsJosh and Trey developed an unparalleled pick-and-pop chemistry. The equilibrium spurred the Raptors to higher scoring margins and more wins.
“My versatility has really emerged in the last few years,” Trey said. “After you just perfect your game at a certain position, you work on another one.” He’d been successful early in the season at shooting guard and small forward, primarily on a pure sharpshooter, but with his teammates’ confidence at his back he turned to power forward.
With Trey at the four, Raptors Uprising took off on a tear, going 6-1 in their next seven games. Playing primarily on a sharpshooting rim protector, also favored by Finals MVP Nate Kahl, Trey aided the team to a 4-0 record when using that particular build.
“Once we settled down and let the game come to us, we were good,” said Trey.
The defense Trey brought to the table was crucial: he averaged nearly two steals and two blocks per game. But he wasn’t exclusively a defensive stopper. Trey scored nearly 15 points per game, spacing the floor for a lethal Uprising attack, and the team as a whole splashed 3-pointer after 3-pointer. His offensive and defensive balance at a new position served as a microcosm for the ability of the entire Raptors Uprising team as it raced to the playoffs with a 7-1 record over its final eight games.
“Whether at the two, three or four, he constantly delivered for us last season,” Talbot said. “That versatility allowed us to experiment with our lineup with confidence and ultimately helped us land on the lineup that carried us down the stretch and into the playoffs.”
Although the Uprising fell in the first round of the playoffs to Cavs Legion GC, Trey is optimistic. He and Kenny know how successful balance is for their team and how to instil it in their teammates.
“I’m pretty sure we can keep that balance going for this year too,” Trey said. “We just have to find some level-headed players who fit in with us.”
The former fourth-round pick—one of only five of which protected in the initial stage of the offseason—knows what he’s talking about. The versatility and equanimity he brought to the table helped save the Raptors season.
Trey gave the Raptors a strong, versatile foundation on which to build going forward. When Raptors Uprising’s season hung in the balance, Trey stepped in to balance it.
— Raptors Uprising GC (@RaptorsGC) January 14, 2019