NBA Draft 2011: Who Should the Toronto Raptors Pursue on Draft Night?

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NBA Draft 2011: Who Should the Toronto Raptors Pursue on Draft Night?
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

 The Dallas Mavericks were crowned the NBA champions last night after a great series, capping an end to the 2010-2011 NBA season.

With the possibility of a lockout due to the expiring CBA, nobody knows when we will see basketball again. However, the NBA draft is happening regardless on June 23rd.

If you didn’t already know, the Raptors had some tough luck on draft lottery night, landing the fifth pick despite being projected at the third slot.

After Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams, this draft is uncertain, but there are quite a few prospects that would address the Raptors needs. So, let’s take a look at who might be available at the fifth position.

Here are the players rankings that I have for the Raptors to draft: 

 

Kyrie Irving, Point Guard

The consensus No. 1 overall pick, there is no chance that Irving is available unless the Raptors trade up. Next.

 

Derrick Williams, Small Forward/Power Forward

Once again, it is very unlikely that Williams will be available at the five slot. It’s too bad because he would fit in very nicely with the Raptors young core and would fill the lack at the small forward position. The Raptors have been rumored to be pushing for the No. 2 overall pick from the Minnesota Timberwolves, so if that happens, Williams could be a Raptor. 

 

Enes Kanter, Center

There have been a lot of mixed thoughts about Enes Kanter, mostly because people haven’t really seen him play. Those who have seen him play have been very impressed. Kanter can do it all. He can shoot the ball, rebound and most importantly, is tough and can rebound the ball. This would give the Raptors a true center, which is something the team has been lacking for quite some time now.

 

Brandon Knight, Point Guard

Brandon Knight could very well end up being better than Kyrie Irving. While Irving is much more polished, Knight’s ceiling is higher. Knight can score almost at will and is a great passer. His first step is phenomenal, and he is a very smart defender.

 

Kemba Walker, Point Guard

It would be a shame if the Raptors aren’t able to get any of the above prospects, but Kemba Walker certainly isn’t a slouch. Kemba Walker is a phenomenal scorer just like Knight and is a fairly solid defender. The problem with Kemba is that he’s considered undersized by many and a bit of a ball hog. However, Kemba is a great leader and winner.

 

Kawhi Leonard, Small Forward

Kawhi Leonard is a Shawn Marion-type player. He plays with a lot of energy, has great energy and is a terrific defender. Leonard could be a very solid pick and fill the Raptors small forward woes. 

 

Jonas Valanciunas, Center

The Lithuanian big center has a lot of promise, but he seems too raw to make an immediate impact. Valanciunas certainly isn’t your typical Euro and could prove to be a serviceable center down the road. He rebounds and plays tough, gritty basketball.

 

Jan Vesely, Small Forward

Similar to Leonard, Vesely is a player who can play multiple positions and is extremely athletic. Vesely could be the most athletic European ever according to some. His offensive skills aren’t quite ready, but defensively and on the glass Vesely will make an immediate impact.

 

I’m quite sure that the Raptors will take one of those players. While this draft class is weak, it is certainly deep enough for the Raptors to get a serviceable player, and hopefully Bryan Colangelo makes the right choice.

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