Chris Denker: The Toronto Raptors have the #9 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft and the passionate Raps Fans have some strong feelings about who they would take. Which I think is great! Bryan Colangelo and his group have a big decision to make, do they have their sites set on one guy? Will they trade up? Take my earlier recommendation and trade down? Who knows, we do know that in recent years the #9 pick has produced some great players and some flops.
Dirk Nowitzki, Tracy McGrady, Shawn Marion (Colangelo), Amare Stoudemire (Colangelo), are stars and even Joakim Noah has performed well for Chicago. Others are Patrick O’Bryant, Ike Diogu, Rodney White, and who knows how D.J. Augustin will pan out from last years draft. But that is just the point here isn’t it? Do the Raps want to get a guy to help them win now or get an Augustin who is an unknown talent and wait for his development over time?
Some of the names that pop up most on the Raptors Republic are listed below and if you’ve been following our Position Rankings over at NetScouts Basketball you’ll see some similarities.
A quick look at some of the kids that could be available at 9, and some of the kids that can fill the gaps for the Raptors:
James Harden – 6?5 215 SG – Arizona St.: Lefty, can score in a variety of ways. Strong guard with good size, can play through contact. Winner – led Arizona St. from predicted 9th place finish to top half of Pac-10 and the post-season NIT. Was all league as frosh when Pac-10 was tougher with Kevin Love, OJ Mayo, et al. Good guard rebounder.
DeMar DeRozan- 6’6 211 SF/SG – USC: Good looking stroke although streaky throughout freshman season. Decent footwork as well and really improved, playing best games at the end of the year in Trojans tourney run. Disappeared at times. Great max vertical leap, weak physically, but for a guy who’s touted as an elite level athlete why did test out slower than 11 of 12 SF’s in Chicago Draft Camp? Not to mention slower than all 16 SG’s!
Stephen Curry – 6’3 180 CG – Davidson: Best shooter at the position and in the draft. Great range. Ever heard “it’s a shot makers league”? He’s a combo guard who can flat out stroke it with range. Good handle & passer, enough to play either G spot. Uses picks & creates space well, crafty finishes off bounce. Good hoops IQ, poised, & sneaky quick. If all else fails, he has a career as a spot up 3-pt. shooter. Dad had lengthy NBA career, brother at Duke. His ability to shoot will keep him in league for a long time.
Gerald Henderson- 6’5 215 SG – Duke: Very athletic. Runs floor & good leaper, finishes break well. Gets to the rim. Much prefers to shoot of dribble & good mid-range game but needs some work from NBA 3. Has size & strength to be a solid individual defender as well. Father played in league.
Sam Young- 6’6 223 SF/SG – Pitt: I’m a huge fan, let’s make that clear now. Got hurt working out for Raptors – impaled his arm on a testing device, literally had to have it surgically removed yet appeared in Chicago ready to play shortly after. Tough & competitive, defends & rebounds, good scorer & finisher on the break, improved as a shooter over career. Won a lot of games against Big East competition which I think translates. Solid shooter, very good lift fake move to set up drive. Strong & athletic although not as big as some.
Jonny Flynn- 6’0 194 PG – Syracuse: Strong, quick, & explosive PG, best off the bounce. Good in Pick & Roll, needs to become consistent from distance. Smart kid, good personality, solid leadership skills. Has climbed in my view after Big East tourney, NCAA’s, and recent work.
Dajuan Blair- 6’7 262 PF – Pitt: You don’t look at him and think long but he is (7’2 wingspan)! Very strong, physical, great hands. Bangs boards & regularly hammered bigger guys (Thabeet). Smart & crafty post moves, uses R/L, & draws fouls. Co-MVP of Big East. Needs improved stroke.
Dante Cunningham – 6’8 230 PF/SF – Villanova: Steady, smart. Strong guy, good defender and position rebounder. Good medium range shooter who could develop into valuable spot up shooter.
Taj Gibson – 6’9 210 PF – USC: Very long arms which is why he’s a shot blocker because he’s not a leaper. Narrow frame could get bounced around & not skilled enough to play SF. 2nd Round, needs NBADL work.
Marcus Thornton – 6’3 195 SG – LSU: One of the top shooters in the draft, especially in catch & shoot situations. Not going to create too much off the bounce in the NBA. Tested pretty well in Chicago athletic testing but not as big as some other SG’s in this draft. Has worked out well for several teams so far.
Danny Green – 6’6 208 SF/SG – North Carolina: Very good defender. Versatile guy who played 4 positions for Heels. Good leader & winner, competitive. Could find a home on a quality team as a role-player/defender off the bench.
Nando De Colo – 6’5 185 PG/SG – Cholet (France): Lanky thin guard, decent athlete. Very good offensive skills, good off the dribble & pull-up jump shooter. Pretty creative passer in Pick/Roll situations. Has become good scorer in France. Plays with Rodrique Beaubois in France.
Rodrique Beaubois – 6’2 182 PG – Cholet (France): Freakishly long arms (6’10 wingspan) and tremendous athleticism. Max vertical jump (39″) second to Flynn (40″). Also boasted some of the best speed & quickness measures of those tested. Plays with Nando De Colo 6’5 G on Cholet.
Jrue Holiday – 6’4 199 CG – UCLA: Up, down, up, down. Crazy talent coming out of HS but inconsistency isn’t good. Has size and athletic ability but not a pure PG & would be a smallish average shooting SG. Needs a position & time.
Brandon Jennings- 6’1 170 PG – Lottomatica Roma: Based entirely off potential, basically did nothing in Europe. Not a reliable shooter at the moment, everything is off the dribble. Lanky & very athletic but you may need to wait a bit for development & maturity (strength). Definitely has flash & a flair for the game.
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