NBA Draft 2011: 10 Players That Could Help the Toronto Raptors Next Season
When star forward Chris Bosh departed last season to play for the Miami Heat, other players in Toronto needed to step up. They didn't.
The Raptors finished third worst in the league—something that seemed to go unnoticed due to Cleveland's ridiculous losing streak and the fact that the Raptors play in Toronto, Canada. Looking forward to this year's draft the Raps need all the help they can get. Their starters are not getting it done and who knowswhich players will want to leave to greener pastures the way Bosh did?
Toronto needs someone who can play and make a difference right from opening night. Considering they only have one pick in the draft—even if it is No. 5—the Raptors have to make as good of a choice as they can.
Let's break down some possible Raptors pick prospects and see how they would fit in.
PG Position Help No. 1: Kemba Walker, Connecticut
Even though 2011 NCAA champ Kemba Walker is not the best PG in the draft, he is one of the best that will be available to the Raptors at the fifth spot.
The Raptors could really use a dynamic player like Kemba, especially after the experience he gained from UConn's crazy run to the national title.
Could he be Toronto's next Damon Stoudemire? It could happen.
PG Position Help No. 2: Jimmer Fredette, BYU
If there's one thing Jimmer learned this season, it's how to carry a team—something Raptors draft picks have to pick up on quickly.
When BYU star Davies was suspended for "improper conduct," Jimmer had to step up his game and lead the team as far as he could in the tournament.
That tenacity could really be helpful as the PG on a team trying to claw it's way out of the NBA's basement.
International Big Man No. 1: Enes Kanter, Turkey/Kentucky
Kanter could help Toronto or he could get in the way of Bargnani.
There is a solid list of international big men in this year's draft but the question is whether the Raptors want to set up two pillars in the post or look to go small.
If they decide to raise their height average a bit Kanter could be a big help with his long reach and solid rebounding skills. Maybe he could use some of his passing skills to kick it out Bargnani for the long ball? That sounds like it could work.
International Big Man No. 2: Jan Vesely, Czech Republic
Many are predicting that Vesely will actually be the guy the Raptors place their bet on. His size is ideal to play alongside Bargnani but not take over for him, and help with the rebounding game.
Vesely and Bargnani could finally give Toronto a solid one-two punch in the inside, freeing up the guards to take the shots on the outside.
He plays with tons of emotion and will chase every ball, and the experience he gained in the Czech Republic just adds to his positive rating.
International Big Man No. 3: Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania
Same deal as Vesely and Kanter—a big man with some skill that could play alongside Bargnani.
I think he is definitely the third choice out of the big men because his offensive skill set is not quite there to help complement Bargnani just yet.
However, if the Raptors are looking for a big man and the other two get drafted earlier, Valanciunas could make a solid draft choice.
Hometown Love No. 1: Tristan Thompson, Texas
Not only could this make for a nice story, but Thompson is actually a serious baller.
TT was a big factor in Texas' solid play this year and he was a serious offensive threat down the stretch.
He played at PF in college, something he might not be able to do in the NBA, but adding a skilled forward like Thompson could help the Raptors round out their starting five.
Hometown Love No. 2: Cory Joseph, Texas
This one is a bit of a longshot because to be honest because Joseph is not a top five player but I need to throw out some Toronto love to him.
If only the Raptors had another pick late in the draft, it would be great to see Joseph go to his hometown club.
He is a skilled forward, but just not good enough for what Toronto needs right now, even though it could make for a nice story.
Forward Who Can Start No. 1: Marcus Morris, Kansas
Morris is a player who could jump right into the Raptors' starting lineup nicely.
At 6'8" with a nice 15-20 range, Morris could help spread the floor for Toronto and let Bargnani do his thing inside, let Derozan cut to the basket and be there to look for the kick-out pass.
He was a solid skill set and seems to be one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft and could help the Raptors right away.
Forward Who Can Start No. 2: Jordan Hamilton, Texas
Even with Thompson and Joseph putting up solid numbers for the Longhorns, Hamilton might have been the main reason they rose so much in the standings late in the season.
With almost a doubling in minutes from last season, Hamilton rose his points per game from 10 to 18 this year and really helped to lead Texas throughout the year.
He is a skilled forward with good hustle and will work hard to earn a spot if drafted by Toronto.
Forward Who Can Start No. 3: Chris Singleton, Florida St.
He has a 37.5 inch vertical—that's wild.
Singleton is a very athletic forward with great defensive skills and could help the Raptors on both ends of the floor—something Toronto should seriously consider.
His offense might need some work but he could earn some solid starting time based on his hard work and grit on the floor.