Counting Down to the Draft: We Finally Have a Confirmed Shortlist of Candidates

So, if Bryan Colangelo is to be believed, then The Raptors have narrowed their shortlist of potential draft picks for Thursday’s NBA draft to 6 players.

According to an interview Colangelo gave on the local radio station Fan590 on June 17, the Raptors are leaning towards selecting a PG or SG in the upcoming draft, but would also be interested in a player like Jordan Hill if he were to drop to the #9 slot.  Colangelo was also quite forthcoming, suggesting that players such as Thabeet, Rubio, Harden , Evans, and Curry would all almost certainly be gone before the Raps picked at #9 and therefore were not part of this list.

The interview also confirmed what writers at the Republic have stated for several weeks, in that BC has no plans to trade Bosh and is placing his focus on re-signing Marion and Delfino, while looking to use the Mid-Level(and potentially another 1st round pick to be purchased in the 20’s)  to add a little extra depth to this team’s core of Bosh, Bargnani, Calderon, and the recently acquired Reggie Evans.

According to BC himself, here are the 5 of the 6 faces the Raptors are targeting in the draft, in no particular order, and * Note * I purposely left Wake’s James Johnson off the list since 9 would be too high a place for the Raptors to select him.  Any move to bring Johnson to Toronto would involve some form of deal (either to purchase a pick in the 20s or to trade down from the #9 spot for multiple picks- ie/ Chicago’s #16 and #26).  All of the players below- if still on the board- would be in play for the Raptors pick at #9:

Name Vitals How He Would Help The Raptors Thumbs Up?

Jrue Holiday

Position: PG
Height: 6-4
Weight: 199
Age: 18
School: UCLA
From the list below, Holiday is easily the best player the Raps could draft and the least likely to still be on the board by number #9.  Most teams have Holiday as at least the  second best point guard on their draft boards, with some teams, like Sacramento rumored to have Holiday ranked higher than Rubio.

Part of the reason why Holiday is such a great pick is because at 6-4 with his huge wingspan and passion for D can easily defend both guard positions and with his ability to slash and shoot the rock, he can also play both back-court positions.

Some of his struggles this season at UCLA have overshadowed the bigger strengths of Holiday- that  GMs have singled in-on and have led to him shoot up the draft ladder.   Holiday has a lights out basketball IQ, he is a great kid, he can score, he can defend, and he is only 18.  When he won all his National Highschool player of the year honours last year, he was only 17! He is one of the youngest, and one of the most talented kids in this draft.

For the Raptors, Holiday would be a perfect compliment to Calderon in the backcourt.  He could play the 2 for the next few years before moving over to play the PG for the next decade.

very sexy choice!

very sexy choice!

Jonny Flynn

Position: PG
Height: 6-1
Weight: 196
Age: 20
School: Syracuse
As far back as early March, before the Big East Tournament and March Madness, Jonny Flynn was a bubble-first round pick AT BEST on most mock drafts.  Now, after a strong March in his Division Tourney and a so-so National Tourney, Flynn has somehow skyrocketed into the top ten?  He is even under consideration at the #4 spot and Sacramento.  What is even harder to understand is how he has passed Ty Lawson (who led his team to a National Title on one foot)?

Jonny Flynn is, well, over rated and Im not even talking about the fact that he is one of the smallest PGs in the draft. His shot is sketchy and his shot selection is even sketchier.  At times throughout the season at Syracuse, Flynn would get into these mano-a-mano pissing battles with opposing point guards, where his own desire to prove his worth often took precedent over what the team needed at each possession…Raptors fans…think of…Mike James.

Most of Flynn’s hype right now is based on the “intangibles” but the “intangibles” are NOT what the Raptors need.  Flynn is charismatic and a real floor general who rallies his team behind him.  But the Raptors do not need a 20 year old leader.  The leadership and toughness void on this team needs to be filled by a veteran.  Do you think Chris Bosh or Shawn Marion are going to be inspired by Johnny Flynn?  Come on.  The Raps need to use the #9 to get a legit player to compliment the core, not lead it.  The mid-level can be used in the off season to add a player like a Cassell or a Horry, or a Fisher, etc.  A guy with the experience and the rings- so that when he speaks- the whole team listens.

Rather than drafting Flynn, the Raptors would be better to trade down and draft Lawson or Teague or Maynor in the late teens/early 20s and grab a second pick in the process.

it hurts my ears to listen to this

it hurts my ears to listen to this

DeMar DeRozan

Position: SG
Height: 6-6
Weight: 211
A ge: 19
School USC
I think DeRozan is the choice.

Here is what I wrote at the beginning of June:

Someone posted last week that DeRozan is like Joey Graham with skill. Talk about an understatement. That’s like saying mini-wheats are like shredded wheat with sugar. Shredded wheat will always suck, while mini-wheats have the potential to rival top cereals everywhere. DeRozan may end up being a Gerald Green as one prominent draft prognosticator wrote last week but is much more likely to be a Vince Carter type player, especially on the Raptors where he’ll get to start, run, play with guys who make open shots (Calderon, Bargnani) and who command a double team (Bosh)

And as I have mentioned before (back in March):

Much like OJ Mayo one year ago, DeRozan was a top flight high school prep star who went to USC and performed below expectations.  Also like Mayo, his character, judgment, and basketball IQ all came under question.   And, I would argue, that much like Mayo, the team who drafts this kid will be reaping the benefits for years to come.  At USC, DeRozan became the victim of the Coach Floyd syndrome, where high scoring athletic wing players are suffocated in a system where every second of the shot clock is scripted and  players who can’t conform don’t have plays drawn up for them.  When Floyd let the reins out a bit, DeRozan had monster games (averaging 19 points a game in the PAC 10 tourney and 18 a game in the NCAA tourney) and demonstrated his crazy athletic ability.  DeRozan is 6?6 with a 6?9 wing span.  He can run the floor, slash, and finish, and really punish opposing teams on both ends. Two years ago he was talked about as a potential #1 overall pick before stepping on the court at USC.  He should slip to 7 or 8 and if he is on the board when the Raps pick – he would be an excellent choice.

Fonzie says....eeeehhhhhhh

Fonzie says....eeeehhh

Gerald Henderson

Position: SG
Height: 6-5
Weight: 215
Age: 21
School: Du
The #9 pick may be a little high for Henderson, but he really shouldn’t slip much past #14 with NJ, Charlotte, Indy, and Phoenix all potential destinations.  So maybe #9 isn’t that big a stretch.

He has a great basketball IQ, plays top-notch defense, and can score in bunches when necessary – but doesn’t need to be prime guy to be very productive member of the team.  He does all the little things well.

This is what I wrote about Henderson back on March 25:

“Shane Battier anyone? Henderson does everything really well but nothing exceptionally well.  Read scouting reports about him and they usually begin with his defensive specialties and almost always ignore the fact that he is Duke’s #1 option on the offense and since Christmas has had 10 games of 20+ points, including the 24 he dropped on Texas in the second round of the tourney (he also had 5 games of 19 points).   He is a smart, versatile player.  He can shoot, he can defend, he can rebound, he can post up, he can handle the ball, and he can score.  At 6?4 he’s big enough to play the SG in the NBA – and really, may be the safest pick in the draft.  Henderson can step in and start next season on 70% of the teams in the NBA.  But at 21 years old, and as a player who will have finished his junior season, he doesn’t come with the flash and the upside of a guy like DeRozan.  Still, he would be pretty hard to pass up at 14 or 15  but if he keeps on dropping 20 a night in the tourney and he might climb to the top of teams big boards for off-guards.”

He would be perfect in Toronto.

who's a safer pic than G. Henderson....nooobody!

who's a safer pic than G. Henderson....nooobody!

Jordan Hill

Position: PF
Height: 6-10
Weight: 232
Age: 21
School: Arizona
Hill would be a steal at #9- but why would you pick him…? unless of course you were you are dealing Bosh.  This is a wasted pick, especially with any of the other 4 guys on the board.  With the Raps looking to compete now and keep Bosh, Hill doesn’t really bring anything to this team.  Besides, even if you dealt Bosh, wouldn’t you just slide Il Mago over to the 4- or play him at the 5 next to Evans?  Don’t get me wrong, I like Hill’s game – and if the Raps were to deal Calderon and Bosh- then he would be an ideal PF to play the run n’ gun style…but even if he slipped to me at #9 I’d pass.  Now, a team like the Bulls would probably be very happy to send both the #16 and #26 or even Luol Deng for the chance to land Hill…and that I’d more than happy to accept.

is this supposed to please Caesar?

Is this supposed to please Caesar?

Lots more draft coverage to come on the Republic over the next 72 hours including LIVE CHAT on draft night!

As always, standing in the key, I’m the Dr. I’ve got my feet planted and I’m planning on taking a charge!


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