Raptors Republic proudly conclude our pre-draft coverage with Big Board 3.0, final thoughts and insights heading into tonight.

If all we are hearing is true and there are no smokescreens running here, the Raptors are looking at (in order)- Knight, Kanter, Biyombo, Valenciunas . This means that Vesely, Leonard, and Kemba have all fallen out of favour. Vesely apparently has a promise from Washington at #6 (this means that Washington doesn’t expect Kanter to be there and they are in a position to trade up to get him). The Raptors should be happy with any of the four but in order of preference:

Brandon Knight:

  • If Utah picks Kanter at #3 or Minny picks Kanter at 2 and Knight falls to #5 it’s a done deal. The Raptors get their point guard of the future and the cornerstone of the franchise to pair with DeRozan, Davis, and Bargnani moving forward.
  • Drafting Knight will NOT result in Calderon being dealt, but instead in Bayless being the guy on the block.
  • GRADE: A+. This is the best case scenario and a homerun for the staff who probably would have picked Knight with any pick other than the #1 overall pick in this draft and now get him at #5 (after falling back in the lottery) and with that save a couple million dollars against the cap.

Enes Kanter:

  • In his own words, he’d like to come to Toronto and if he does he plans on playing the 5 and Andrea playing the 4 beside him.
  • Kanter has too much talent for the Raptors to pass on. As a 60-loss team, they have to draft the best available talent, and if by any combination Kanter is there at #5, the Raptors will take him.
  • Drafting Kanter will NOT result in Bargnani being dealt, but instead in Ed Davis being the guy on the block.
  • GRADE: A+. In a draft devoid of All-Star talent, Kanter still may be the most talented player in NYC tonight. The Raptors have continually under Colangelo draft the guy with the most talent, regardless of fit, media ideas, or fan fare. One could argue that Bargnani, DeRozan, and Davis have been top 3 talent in each of their respective drafts (whether or not they can live up to that is still debatable). Kanter, all red flags aside is definitely top-three talent in just about any draft, and if you can get him at #5 that is pretty impressive.

Bismack Biyombo:

  • If the draft plays out Irving, Williams, Knight and Kanter, then look for the Raptors to take Biyombo at #5.
  • Biymobo worked out for the Raptors on Monday. Casey was there. And he was impressive.
  • If they can make a play to trade down to say #8 Detroit and pick up another asset (maybe a future pick and their own second rounder back, or a player like Stuckey) or make a move to send #5 to Charlotte for 2 of their 3 first rounders this year, then look for them to do so.
  • Colangelo would prefer to pick Biyombo lower, pay less money for the pick, and grab some assets in the process. But make no mistake, Colangelo has no problem taking him at #5.
  • The medical red flag issues that came out today about Biyombo are not legit and appear to be a smokescreen out there by a hopeful team in the teens trying to get some GMS to rethink taking him in early lottery.
  • GRADE: A. This pick is not much about what Biymobo does, but about how much better he immediately makes Bargnani, Calderon, and the Raptors team defense. While his offense is very raw, it’s hard to argue with his energy, toughness, athleticism, and defensive capabilities are not going to have an immediate impact. This is a great pick for the Raptors, even at #5.

Jonas Valanciunas:

  • How is this for an unpredictable draft, Valanciunas is being considered seriously by every team starting at Utah at #3 all the way to Milwaukee at #10.
  • Not only that, all the rumours you are hearing about the Spurs shopping Parker, OKC shopping Maynor are all based on the overwhelming desire by just about every team in the draft to get their hands on Valanciunas.
  • The fear has always been that his buyout is high and that he wouldn’t come to the NBA next year, and there is some truth to that, but not much.
  • As reported here last week, the buyout is not that bad. Valanciunas himself told RR’s good friend, Ryan Feldman @thehoopsreport last night that the buyout was 2.5 million and that he planned on staying in Europe next season. But, that’s because there is a lockout looming, and it also sounds like his agent is trying to get his guy into a very specific spot.
  • $2.5 million is not a giant buyout. NBA teams are allowed to pay up to $500,000 and as a top five pick he’ll make a guaranteed 3.5 million plus for the next 4 seasons. Now I’m not Tom Liston, but the numbers here suggest he’d be crazy to turn down that kind of money.
  • If the right team picks him, he’ll be in the NBA next season. Having said that, I think he’s gone before #5. Cleveland at 4 seems like the best fit. But with picks 1, 2 and 3 still all up in the air, no one can tell.
  • If he is on the board, this is also a great space for the Raptors to trade the #5 pick. They could easily grab a veteran starter and a pick for the #5 if Valanciunas is still on the board. Again, there are a lot of suitors here.
  • GRADE: A. Raptors fans won’t like this, but drafting Valanciunas and partnering him next to Bargnani makes logical sense. It’s hard to argue with drafting a legitimate 7 footer at the #5 spot. Think back to the Bosh/LeBron/Wade draft. The Clippers may not have lucked out (in that they were unable to land one of the monster talents in the draft), but they did land Chris Kaman with #5 and there isn’t anything wrong with that.

Need a Rapcast fix? Check out my interview on TSN Radio yesterday on the Bryan Hayes Show:

You can also download the file.

Be sure to come chat ball tonight at the RR Draft Party at St. Louis Bar & Grill (Yonge/Wellesley), where you could have your food and drink covered by answering a simple question.

Hope you have enjoyed all the draft coverage this spring. See you tonight.