NBA Draft 2011: 10 Players That Could Help the Toronto Raptors Next Season

Adam DavisCorrespondent IJune 15, 2011

NBA Draft 2011: 10 Players That Could Help the Toronto Raptors Next Season

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    TORONTO, CANADA - FEBRUARY 16:  Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat plays against Andrea Bargnani #7 of the Toronto Raptors in a game on February 16, 2011 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. The Heat defeated the Raptors 103-95. (Photo by Claus Ander
    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    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

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies reacts after a play against the Butler Bulldogs during the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houst
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    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

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 24:  Jimmer Fredette #32 of the Brigham Young Cougars reacts during their 74 to 83 loss to the Florida Gators in the Southeast regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 24, 2011 in New Orle
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    TULSA, OK - MARCH 18:  Tristan Thompson #13 of the Texas Longhorns dunks the ball against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at BOK Center on March 18, 2011 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Rona
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    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

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 12:  Cory Joseph #5 of the Texas Longhorns goes up for a shot against the Kansas Jayhawks in the first half of the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament championship game at Sprint Center on March 12, 2011 in Kansas C
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    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

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 27:  Marcus Morris #22 of the Kansas Jayhawks handles the ball against Jamie Skeen #21 of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams during the southwest regional final of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Alamodome on March 27,
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    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

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    TULSA, OK - MARCH 20:  Jordan Hamilton #3 of the Texas Longhorns dunks the ball against the Arizona Wildcats during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at BOK Center on March 20, 2011 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    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.

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 25:  Chris Singleton #31 of the Florida State Seminoles puts up a shot against Jamie Skeen #21 of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams during the southwest regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Alamodome on March 2
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    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.