With the NBA playoffs just around the corner, we will take another look at the best mock drafts on the Internet as we attempt to become more familiar with the prospects that could potentially land with the Toronto Raptors in the 2012 NBA Draft.
The consensus has changed from Harrison Barnes to Andre Drummond to Bradley Beal, with Damian Lillard’s name popping up occasionally.
What seems certain, though, is that the Raptors will in all likelihood be getting someone who can start right away with the current state of our roster.
The first mock draft we always look at is ESPN Insider Chad Ford’s. This time around he mocked Bradley Beal to the Raptors and had this to say about the potential pick:
“Analysis: The Raptors already have DeMar Derozan in the backcourt, but I doubt they’d pass on the chance to land Beal. The Florida 2-guard has the ability to play point guard and would give Toronto a shooter with deep range — an ability that DeRozan lacks.”
Beal would be an excellent selection for the Raptors and is the only can't-miss prospect that may still be on the board when it is the Raptors' turn to pick.
NBADraft.net mocked Jeremy Lamb to the Raptors, which was strange considering Beal was still on the board in this scenario.
Hoopshype mocked Drummond to the Raptors with these comments:
“Drummond is a great kid, but really struggled with consistency and focus after arriving on campus at UConn late. After Davis, Drummond has the most upside of any player in this draft class, and by a wide margin, but the fact that he did not improve much under one of college basketball’s top talent developers (Calhoun) is viewed as a red flag. Drummond’s motor runs hot and cold leaving many wondering whether he will live up to his vast potential. Said one scout about Drummond after their tourney loss to Iowa State in which he scored just 2 points. 'He reminds me of Oden, and not in a good way.' He very easily could still end up the second overall pick, but teams will be sweating bullets with the thought of drafting a player with such a laid back demeanor. The organization that Drummond lands with will likely play a large part in his future success or lack thereof.”
Bradley Beal is an excellent two-guard prospect and may turn out to be the second best player from this draft class behind sure-fire stud Anthony Davis.
Though he plays the same position as DeMar DeRozan, Beal is a more adept off-guard and would shift DeRozan back to the small forward position he played all the way up until college.
Beal can create his own shot off the dribble and has more range than DeRozan, which makes him an ideal partner for DeRozan on the wings.
For all the scoring potential DeRozan has shown thus far in the NBA, Beal may have even more.
Here are nbadraft.net’s thoughts on Beal:
“At 6’4, 185 lbs and a well-defined frame that has filled out more and more over the past year, Beal has decent size for a SG prospect … His most outstanding trait as a prospect is his jump shot … Beal shows a terrific stroke, very good mechanics and is a huge threat coming off screens or spotting up … Although not quite as good off the dribble, he’s still very good in that area too … He’ll be a very effective 3-point shooter in Gainesville immediately … Defensively Beal is also strong … He’s fundamentally sound, shows an excellent feel for the game and he’s got the body and enough athleticism to defend SG’s and most PG’s … Plays a mature game, and doesn’t force the issue or look to score outside of the offensive flow much …Has great upside as an off-ball scorer … Can pull up for jumpers and knock them down consistently from mid-range … Able to finish effectively around the rim when he gets there … High basketball IQ … Unselfish passer … Already is pretty strong and physically developed … Seems to have good leadership potential and is definitely a team oriented player … Can flush off the break without needing to plan his footwork moving towards the basket … Also a high level passer for a 2 guard …”
NBA comparison: Eric Gordon
Harrison Barnes seems like the ideal fit on paper—prototypical small forward size, length and defensive ability, expanding NBA range.
His stock has slipped this season, but his talent is undeniable; not everyone succeeds in the college environment.
Barnes could be a future All-Star and is someone who can be our starting small forward for the next decade.
Here are nbadraft.net’s thoughts on Barnes:
“Barnes fits the NBA small forward mold, standing 6’8 with substantial length, mobility and athleticism … Fluid, confident and reliable in catch and shoot situations with NBA range. His ability to spot up and knock down shots will likely give him a long and prosperous NBA career … He’s crisp in the midrange with precise footwork and a high release on his jumper… Effective pulling up off one dribble or two … Uses pump fakes efficiently to get open looks … Maintains balance and body control when attacking the rim both on and off the ball … Has the ability to make difficult shots from different spots on the floor … Willing passer … Can get out and finish in transition … High basketball IQ and a high character individual … Has the tools to be an effective defender …”
NBA comparison: Glen Rice
Andre Drummond has been compared to Amare Stoudemire by nbadraft.net and could be an even better defensive presence if he can answer questions about his motor. I am not sure if it's a UConn thing, but he has the same motor issues Charlie Villanueva had coming out.
Drummond has the chance to be something really special and could be a perennial 15-10 threat if he lands on a team where he can get consistent starting minutes; land on the wrong team and he can have an NBA journeyman career.
Here are nbadraft.net’s thoughts on Drummond:
“Man child. A physical specimen type of athlete with a huge wingspan, long legs and strength and agility at a young age … He’s already a beast inside the paint with his rebounding and shot blocking ability and shows the toughness and tenacity to be a dominant inside player … Shows a natural feel for the game with good timing on shot blocks and explosive leaping ability … Has a huge wingspan (7-feet-plus) … Born in August of 1993, and with size 18 shoes, Drummond could have another growth spurt in him and could end up well over 7-feet … Right hander who shows a solid form on his shot … Right now he scores a lot of points around the basket on ally oops and put backs. He’s also beginning to show some ability to create offense for himself and his post skills show a lot of potential …”
NBA comparison: Amare Stoudemire/DeAndre Jordan
Jeremy Lamb’s Reggie Miller comparisons are sure to pique everyone’s interest, but being a long-time Raptors fan, the last thing fans want is another shooter.
Lamb has exceptional range, decent size and as a UConn player, a laid-back demeanor that has many questioning his motor and desire.
Lamb has enough talent that he can emerge as the best shooting guard from this draft down the road.
Here are nbadraft.net’s thoughts on Lamb:
“ Lamb is a thin 6’5 wing with a monster wingspan (around 7’1) … A good athlete with nice fluidity and quickness, and solid explosiveness and leaping skills … Runs the floor very well … Plays with great composure and proved to be extremely clutch in UConn’s run through the NCAA tournament … Shows a very promising game off the dribble, and is able to stick pull-up jumpers pretty well right now … Pretty good ball-handling skills … Rangy strider and quick 1st step allows him to get a step on defenders pretty well … Likes to use floaters in the lane, and will use to the glass to bank shots in … Capable spot-up jump shooter with consistent range out to the college 3-point line, and has the ability to make shots off screens and curls too … Will move without the ball … Lamb proved to be a very good defender last season for UConn, and that’s really promising considering he was a Fr. on a nat’l title team and in a competitive league like the Big East … He was able to defend all 3 perimeter positions effectively with his length and quickness , which is intriguing considering his youth … Length and quick hands proved him to be a threat as a ball-thief, and it created transition opportunities for himself and teammates …Willing rebounder … Generally shows a high basketball IQ and has a lot of the traits of a former player’s son (his dad, Rolando Lamb, was an NBA draft pick) … Reportedly has a strong work ethic, which will be needed for him to reach his potential …”
NBA comparison: Reggie Miller
Jared Sullinger is another player whose stock has suffered by going back to school. A lock for the top-5 in 2011, Sullinger may now hear his name called anywhere from 4-15 depending on his combine.
Sullinger may be pegged as a little short for an NBA power forward but makes up for it with heart and physicality in the paint.
Sullinger is a strong rebounder, and what he lacks in height he makes up for in size. Sullinger, despite his size, may never be an effective center in the NBA, which leads most pundits to believe that he will be slotted at the four and probably needs to land on a team with an offensive center in order to maximize his talents.
Here are nbadraft.net’s thoughts on Sullinger:
“Sullinger has decent size for a post player measuring 6’9” (in shoes) with a 6’11.5” wingspan … He is a bruising throwback post player that uses his 286 pound body to create angles for his shot and to clear space on the boards … Very physical player that uses his body to wear down opposing big men…The Ohio State commit is also very skilled with a repertoire of advanced post moves for a high school player…Comfortable finishing around the rim with either hand … Has excellent hands and footwork and shows very good touch around the basket … Solid rebounder, he attacks the glass at both ends of the floor and creates offensive opportunities off of putbacks…Shows decent form and touch on the 12-18 footer … Passes well out of the post … He’s a winner, leading his Columbus Northland squad to an Ohio Divison 1 state championship and his All-Ohio Red AAU squad to three consecutive National Championships …”
NBA comparison: Carlos Boozer
What would the Raptors' big board look like today?
Tony Wroten Jr.
It seems that instead of being able to trim this list, more names are actually being added as the NBA draft approaches. A point guard was never really in serious consideration until recently, but we still doubt that the Raptors will reach on a point guard so early in the lottery; one may be a target if we decide to trade down.
Beal, Barnes, Robinson and Lamb all look like future NBA starters, while Drummond will have to land in the right situation.
Jones will probably end up as a huge small forward, while Lillard and Wroten will compete to be the best point guard in this draft.
Sullinger would be a good fit beside Andrea Bargnani but may struggle to find the same kind of fit on teams without a scoring big like Bargnani, Love or Aldridge.
Who is the best fit for the Raptors?
On paper Harrison Barnes is the best fit, but in reality it may be Bradley Beal. Beal is a player who can do everything we wish DeMar could and would make a perfect partner on the wings for DeRozan.
Thomas Robinson would be a great fit if Bryan Colangelo agreed to finally end the Andrea Bargnani experiment.
Lamb is another player who would potentially be a great fit for the Raptors, but many feel that Beal is the superior prospect.
In the end, our hearts still want Barnes, who has been the object of our affection for two seasons, but our brains say Beal…Bradley Beal.