The Toronto Raptors And Their Options Come Draft Day
To put it rather simply, Bryan Colangelo is facing a very daunting offseason this time around, more so than any previous year. The first and obvious reason is the Chris Bosh situation. Will he stay or will he go? That is the question. Also, on top of all that is the whole thing with Hedo Turkoglu. Turkoglu no longer wants to play with the Toronto Raptors after a disappointing season, so now the team must look to move him. If both Bosh and Turkoglu leave the Raptors that creates two huge holes in Toronto’s roster that Colangelo must fill if he wants a solid team for next season.
On the top of Colangelo’s list will be the draft. The Raptors have the 13th overall pick if they don’t trade it away. With the draft coming up, one very important question arises, should they draft for the front court or should they draft for the back court? Considering that Bosh and Amir Johnson are both free agents and could very likely be playing somewhere else next season, to most people, it would only make sense for the Raptors to draft a big man. However, there are some that would say the Raptors should use their first pick for a point guard or a winger. Turkoglu will probably be somewhere else other than Toronto, and in all likelihood Jarrett Jack, Jose Calderon, or possibly even both will be playing south of the border next season.
Turkoglu, Jack, Calderon. The Raptors will probably trade two of those three, the most likely combination being Turkoglu and either Jack or Calderon, not necessarily together however. With Turkoglu and one of the two point guards leaving, acquiring a solid back court player becomes very important for the Raptors. This year’s draft may not be the most rich when it comes to perimeter talent, but there are still enough solid kids to choose from. If Colangelo was to draft a perimeter player, the favourites, in my opinion, would be Avery Bradley and Paul George.
George could step in and fill the void left by Turkoglu rather nicely, and he would be an even better fit to the Raptor’s style of basketball than Turkoglu was. George is very athletic with a scorer’s instinct who can get his shot off wherever and whenever he wants. He also has great potential on the other side of the ball on defense, which at times was hard to see during his college career as he played on a terrible Fresno State team.
Bradley, on the other hand, would be a nice addition to the Raptors as well. He could be the star point guard the Raptors so badly need. It is well known how badly the Raptors struggled defensively at the point guard position, especially with Calderon. Bradley could be the one to put an end to all that due to the fact he is a very skilled defender. I think Bradley could be their guy if they go the route of drafting small.
With the possibility of Bosh leaving, it is likely the Raptors will be looking to Andrea Bargnani to shoulder the load in the front court next season. It would be wise for Colangelo and company to get a big man who isn’t afraid to get down and dirty, allowing Bargnani to focus on scoring and producing offence for Toronto.
There are many possibilities for the Raptors if they decide to go big in the draft. However, favourites like Ekpe Udoh, Cole Aldrich, Ed Davis, and Patrick Patterson could very well be picked already, no longer available for the Raptors to draft. My bet would be that the Raptors will end up taking Daniel Orton with the 13th overall pick. Orton has everything you want in a big man; a chiseled frame, freakishly long arms, and decent athleticism. Orton has two knocks against him however. The first being he didn’t play very much in his first and only year at the NCAA Division 1 level with Kentucky. The second being compared to other projected first and even second rounders, Orton amassed subpar numbers. Despite these two strikes, experts still say he has unlimited potential. He could very well be the one to help Bargnani take himself and the Raptors to the next level.
So to sum things up, the Raptors could go either way, big or small. Look for the front office to make a trade that would bring a solid front or back court player to Toronto depending on which way they go in the draft. For example, if the Raptors draft a perimeter player, they’ll probably make a deal that would bring them a 4 or a 5. This offseason could be a defining moment in Colengelo’s career and a defining moment in the future of the franchise.
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