The Toronto Raptors are projected to have the number eight pick in this June's upcoming draft, though of course it could be a bit lower or as high as number one. Toronto cannot afford to blow this fantastic opportunity.
This 2012 draft class is considered by many to be the deepest draft since '96 when superstars such as Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Allen Iverson and Ray Allen were drafted along with quality players like Marcus Camby, Jermaine O'Neal, Antoine Walker, Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Derek Fisher. There are more than 10 players in this draft with All-Star level talent and perhaps as many as five superstar level or "max" players in this draft as well.
This draft is so deep that the enigmatic Perry Jones, the consensus "most talented" player and the same player who could have been drafted second or even first in last year's draft, is projected to be drafted no higher than seventh this year.
Toronto Raptor fans are starved for team success and drafting the right player this year could go a long way toward fulfilling their fans' hopes and building a perennial playoff contender. Again, Toronto cannot afford to waste their pick and consequently, their future.
In the following slides I will list the five players that the Raptors should stay away from. There are many quality players they could draft, but these five must be avoided at all costs.
Thomas Robinson is a stud, period.
The All-American from the University of Kansas is a legitimate number one pick in the upcoming NBA draft and will almost assuredly be a top-five selection. Robinson averaged 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds per game as a junior last season and is known for his incredible work ethic as much as his magnificent athleticism.
So, why in the world should the Raptors avoid drafting Robinson? The simple answer is that he is a true power forward, not a possible center, nor a possible small forward. The Raptors simply don’t need another power forward, not even one as talented as Robinson.
After spending high first round draft picks on power forwards Andrea Bargnani in 2006 and Ed Davis in 2010, making a sizeable investment in Amir Johnson, and using the first round number five pick on center Jonas Valanciunas last year, the Raptors simply do not need to draft a “big” in this year’s first round.
Toronto needs to develop the big men they already have on their roster.
Andre Drummond is an absolute man child.
Drummond’s blend of size, strength and speed is quite remarkable and he has already drawn comparisons to superstar center Dwight Howard. However, he has also drawn comparisons to Eddy Curry, Kwame Brown and other knuckle-head big men who never lived up to their true potential.
While I believe the Raptors need a true team superstar and while I acknowledge that Drummond has more “superstar potential” than any other available draftee this year, there is also a massive possibility that he has just as much “bust potential”.
This boom or bust potential of Drummond should be enough to scare the Raptors away from drafting young Andre the Giant.
Jared Sullinger is a bruiser, an old school, take you out behind the woodshed and whoop you bruiser. Big Sully is the sort of player every NBA team could use … except the Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors may consider Sullinger a fine draft choice, thinking that he can play both the power forward and center positions. However, I believe that would be a grave mistake. I simply cannot imagine Sullinger being any more effective of a starting NBA center than the Spurs DeJuan Blair.
Blair, despite being a dominant rebounder in college, averaged just 9.3 rebounds per 36 minutes this year with the Spurs. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Boris Diaw of all people, and saw just over three minutes of playing time in the second round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Raptors do not need to trade for DeJuan Blair and therefore certainly do not need to waste a draft pick on Jared Sullinger.
Tyler Zeller was a wonderful collegiate player for the University of North Carolina. Zeller has also been compared to a young Pau Gasol, a player the Raptors would love to have on their team without a doubt.
However, I believe if the Raptors want Pau Gasol, then they should trade for Pau Gasol rather than draft Tyler Zeller hoping he one day becomes what Gasol already is.
In fact, the Raptors could simply work out a pre-draft deal with the Lakers for Gasol whereby they use their first round lottery pick on LA’s behalf and trade the rights to that pick.
Another plan could be that the Raptors send Amir Johnson and Ed Davis or even Linas Kleiza and DeMar DeRozan, to the Lakers for Gasol after July 1st.
I simply see no need for the Raptors to draft another young big when they already have Bargnani, Davis and Valanciunas on the roster.
Trading for an established, All-Star level champion like Gasol is an entirely different matter and the Raptors may have the goods to get such a deal done.
John Henson is a human fly swatter who averaged just over 3.8 blocks and 12.3 rebounds per 36 minutes during his three year career at the University of North Carolina. Those numbers are legitimate top 10 draft pick numbers, no question about that.
So, why should the Raptors not even think, even for one second, about drafting John Henson?
Simply because they already have his “original” on their roster in Ed Davis. That’s right, John Henson is the clone of Raptor Ed Davis and the Raptors would be much better off drafting a top level shooting guard to pair with DeMar DeRozan on the wing than having the Henson and Davis combo, also known as the two headed monster Jed Denson!