Toronto Raptors Big Board, Post-Lottery Edition
The Draft lottery is over and whether by chance or by slight of hand, the New Orleans Hornets have won the lottery, the Cleveland Cavaliers are no longer the league’s favourite team and the Raptors stayed put at number eight after losing a coin toss to the Golden State Warriors. The latter was perhaps the only truly “random” occurrence of the night, unless of course the league made sure they did everything in their power to keep the Warriors from losing their protected first rounder.
All conspiracy theories aside, I’m here to focus on the Toronto Raptors, not the much needed changes to the way the draft lottery is conducted.
The Raptors ended up with the eighth overall pick, so as promised here is my updated post-lottery big board for the Toronto Raptors.
The out-of-our-reach players:
1. Anthony Davis, PF/C, 6-10, 220 lbs, 19 years old
2. Bradley Beal, SG, 6-5, 195lbs, 18 years old
3. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, 6-7, 210lbs, 18 years old
4. Thomas Robinson, PF, 6-9, 237lbs, 21 years old,
Barring a miracle, all four of these players are a lock to be off the board when the Raptors make the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft. Nevertheless, this wouldn’t be a true big board without the best players in the draft, so I had to include them. Well, that and the fact that if I didn’t then everyone would be asking why I started at number five instead of number one.
5. Dion Waiters, Syracuse, Sophomore: SG/PG, 6-4, 215lbs, 20 years old
Hate me, debate or accuse me of hopping on the Chad Ford bandwagon. Either way, I got a strong whiff of Dion Waiters last week while reading what ESPN’s Chad Ford had to say about him following a workout… and let me tell you, I liked what I smelt!
Dion Waiters is by far the biggest sleeper in this year’s draft and I am going on record right here and now to say that he will be in the running for ROY.
Waiters struggled both on and off the court in his first year at Syracuse, but he bounced back in his second year, showing improved play and maturity as he embraced his role as sixth man and thrived.
Waiters is a hard worker who can come and immediately give us more on offense and defense than we are currently getting from DeMar DeRozan. As an added bonus, Waiters may also be able to play the point.
He attacks the rim with a vengeance and already has a good jumper, with range and room to improve. His defense has drawn some question marks, but he is improving and has the potential to improve further. He’s athletic, strong and mentally tough.
After emerging from a tumultuous freshman year in which he feuded with coach Jim Boheim and endured the loss of three cousins and a best friend, he thrived as a sixth man for the Orange. I have no doubt he has the potential to be a star and team leader for this young Raptors team.
Still don’t believe me? Well don’t worry, they’ll be more articles to follow and of course when he outperforms Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Ross and Austin Rivers at the draft combine I’ll have some facts to throw out there as well. I just hope other teams don’t catch on and take Waiters before we get to him…
6. Harrison Barnes, UNC, Sophomore: SF, 6-8, 210lbs, 20 years old
Harrison Barnes did not play up to expectations last season, but that won’t stop me from putting him this high on the big board.
If Bryan Colangelo truly wants to make a playoff push next season, and I’m confident he does considering his job is on the line, then Barnes is the way to go.
He can come in and start at SF right away. His shooting touch and lock-down defense give us everything we need in our SF of the future.
With the right supporting cast, a starting five of Calderon, DeRozan, Barnes, Bargnani and Valanciunas could make the playoffs next year, and probably keep BC in town for another season. Throw in our two second rounders, Ed Davis and James Johnson, and we’ve really got ourselves something we can work with.
That’s not to mention the fact that Barnes seems to have a good head on his shoulders. He’s mature and despite the UNC collapse after losing Kendall Marshall to injury in this year’s tournament, I think Barnes would develop into a leader for this young team.
7. Damian Lillard, Weber State, Junior: PG, 6-2, 185 lbs, 21 years old
Damian Lillard can flat out score, but contrary to what many think, he can do more than score and that’s why he’s this high on the list.
Damian Lillard is also a very intelligent and efficient player. He’s not as good of a play-maker as Kendall Marshall but he has demonstrated in college that he can run the point when he needs to, and more importantly, he can do it with very few turnovers.
Lillard gives the Raptors a legitimate scoring option other than Bargnani and DeRozan. Under the tutelage of Jose Calderon, his play-making will improve and we could be looking at our PG of the future. Furthermore, he’d make Jerryd Bayless expendable, so we can let his contract expire and use the extra cap space via trade or free agency.
8. Andre Drummond OR Perry Jones III
I am confident that Andre Drummond will be gone by the time the Raptors are on the clock; meaning that one of the three previous players (Waiters, Barnes or Lillard) will still be available.
However, if for some reason they aren’t and Drummond is still available, then we’ll have to choose between Andre Drummond and Perry Jones III.
Sorry let me re-phrase that, Bryan Colangelo and company will have to choose between Andre Drummond and Perry Jones III… with BC’s job on the line.
At the risk of losing his job, I’ll bet Colangelo pushes hard for PJ3 a a) he gives the Raps a better chance of making the playoffs next year and b) even if they miss the playoffs BC can say, “Hey, I drafted our SF of the future and we’ve got the makings of a good team… so let me keep my job please.”
Nevertheless, you can make a case for both with the eighth overall pick because this late in the draft, the potential rewards heavily outweigh the potential risks with both players, especially Andre Drummond.
Jones III could start at SF and if everything works out for the best we’d get a versatile 6-11 small forward of the future.
Drummond, on the other hand, has a boat load of potential and is the better long term pick. If everything works out we could have one of the best front courts in the league in a couple of years with Andre Drummond and Jonas Valanciunas… whose NBA ceilings (remember ceiling = best case scenario, not most likely scenario) are Amare’ Stoudemire/Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah with offense, respectively.
So basically, I’d lean more toward Andre Drummond in this case, but I just want to make it known that I don’t think Perry Jones III would be a bad idea either.
Thanks for reading.
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