The Dr Is In: Big Board 2.0
This week on The Doctor is In with Phdsteve, we continue our draft coverage with an updated big board 2.0.
Joined by my brother Mike (who knows college basketball), Greg Mason (the brain from the south), and Blair Miller from The Fifth Quarter Blog we explore what the Raptors might do with the #9 pick overall. If the proposed Bill Simmons rumour of DeRozan to Charlotte for Gerald Henderson and the #9 pick were to come true, what should the Raptors do?
Give the pod a listen and check out the accompanying write-ups of our choices below.
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Aaron Gordon, F, Freshman
Pick by Greg Mason, @votaryofhoops
I have serious doubts about the Raptors’ ability to move into the top-10 of this year’s draft. I am not on board with the idea of moving Derozan. There are significant holes in his game (3-pt shooting, defense, ball handling) but he’s a guy that puts the ball in the basket, gets to the foul line, hits big free throws down the stretch and improves every season. Most importantly, this is absolutely the wrong time for the Raptors to deal one of their leaders. The city is excited about Raptors basketball and the franchise is freshly off a record season. Thus any push into the top-10 needs to happen by way of a package including T Ross, the #20 pick and expiring contracts. The guy in the 5-10 whom I would target is Aaron Gordon. I absolutely love the guy’s feet. He’s got great lateral quickness, an explosive, sky-high vertical and a lightening quick second jump. He projects as an elite wing defender and a guy who will serve as the quintessential stat-stuffing complimentary piece. He isn’t a great shooter in general but he’s especially atrocious at the foul line (42%!). Pairing him next to Demar would make the presence of a stretch-4 almost imperative. In this uber-hyped draft you’ll have to cough up a heavy package in order to secure a guy like Gordon. What’s more, Danny Ainge is reportedly man-crushing hard on Gordon right now so I’m not sure that anything other than Demar or Jonas would move the needle. Nevertheless, Gordon is that do a little bit of everything Shawn Marion/Kahwi Leonard type that can take your team to the next level. If Masai can somehow work his magic, I’ll be a happy camper!
Dario Saric, F, International
Cibona Zagreb, 6”10”, 223 lbs
Pick by Michael Gennaro, @michaelgennaro
MVP of the Adriatic league at 20 years old. Has played professional ball since he was 16. Led his team to the championship and the league in scoring with over 15 ppg. At 6’10” he has the ability to play at both the 3 and the 4. He has great dribbling skills, and can stretch the floor as he improved his 3-pt % to over 33% this past season. His 6’11” wingspan and his lack of leaping ability does not make him a defensive threat – he is sort of a tweener on defense – not fast enough for 3’s and not strong enough for 4’s, but he does have a strong motor and plays with intensity and hustle to make up for it.
He likes to run the floor on the fast break and is not afraid to dribble end to end or pass to the open man. He can attack the rim with both hands, has a good crossover, and can play the high or the low post. He crashes the boards on both ends and averaged 3+ offensive rebounds last season. Not the most athletic but uses his hustle and strong basketball IQ to overcome this.
Doug McDermott, F, Senior
Pick by Blair Miller, @TFQuarter
In our podcast I’ve voiced my apprehensiveness to trading DeRozan for the ninth pick and a guy who likely wouldn’t be a starter for the Raptors (Gerald Henderson). Still, I was hopeful for a trade to move up in the first round in The Dr. Is In Podcast just a few weeks ago, so I don’t mind hypothesizing about whom to take at No. 9 overall in the draft – especially because it didn’t take me more than a few seconds to settle on Doug McDermott from Creighton.
It’s hard to believe that the reigning National Player of the Year in Division 1 NCAA – who finished fifth all-time in career scoring with 3,150 points – could fall to the bottom of the top 10, but that’s where most experts seem to have him going at the moment, if not lower. We’re talking about a three-time Conference Player of the Year, twice a consensus All-American, who put up these numbers in his senior season while everyone knew he was going to get the ball: 26.7 PTS, 52.6% FG, 44.9% 3PT, 7.0 REB, 1.6 AST, 1.8 T/O. His low assists number isn’t a concern to me, because he’s a coach’s son who sees the floor well, understands the flow of the game and was asked to hoist up a lot of shots by his own father, Greg, who runs the Creighton program. In fact, McDermott was second in the nation in field goal attempts, which makes his efficiency of 1.22 points per possession last season mind-boggling.
But as so often is the case with many top college players who don’t get projected as high-end lottery picks in the NBA, there is concern about McDermott’s first step and/or ability to create his own offense in the pros, not to mention the defensive deficiencies that tend to come along with such a weakness. I don’t think it matters as much as skeptics might argue. For one, coach’s sons also tend to buy into playing tougher defense than one would assume, given their physical attributes. Also, McDermott’s 36.5” vertical at the combine could indicate a bit more explosiveness than some of his slower times in the agility-oriented drills do. What’s more, does Toronto really need another guy to slash to the lane, even without DeRozan? In this week’s podcast, I spend some time comparing the role he could play for the Raptors to ones played by guys on other teams, past and present. (And I realize my analyses of the Raptors’ potential offseason moves have been a total whitewash, so I added a black player for comparison too!) I’ll leave that for your listening pleasure, but to summarize: There is a place in the NBA – and Toronto – for a talented three-point shooter with size, but who is too big to guard shooting guards, and not big enough to match up with most power forwards. In recent playoff series we’ve seen players who fit that bill help their teams win, most specifically in small ball lineups by spacing the floor and getting some key rebounds in height mismatches. I think McDermott compares well to those guys, and that’s a type of player the Raptors truly need to fill a hole in their roster, especially if Patrick Patterson gets lost in the offseason shuffle.
Oh – McDermott’s got some swag, too. He opted not to participate in the shooting drills at the combine, but still told Comcast SportsNet that he’s the draft’s best shooter. That attitude will fit in well up north. And heck – at the end of the day, this is Toronto. Why not draft a Creighton Bluejay?
Julius Randle, F, Freshman
Pick by Steve Gennaro, @therealphdsteve
I know it’s a long shot but I’m going with Julius Randle. In part because if I’m the rain maker for the Toronto Raptors I don’t trade of DeRozan to Charlotte for Henderson and the #9 pick if Randle is not on the board. In my opinion, an equal talent can be drafted at #20, or even #27 for that matter in Glen Robinson III to anyone other than Randle that you might select with the #9 pick, so paying the premium of an NBA All Star in DeRozan does not make sense. Editor’s note: I loooooove Glen Robinson III and he appears on mock draft boards as low at the end of the 1st round when I think his talent is comparable to anyone outside of the top 5 in this draft- see Big Board 1.0 for more on this
Despite the recent drop in draft stock, I still think Randle is at worst the fifth best prospect in this draft (Click here to read the scouting report on Randle written by Mike and Greg for True Hoop affiliate Bucsketball) and I have him ranked still in my top 3. I think Randle has 20 point -10 rebound NBA potential in the right situation and I think pairing him next to Jonas for the next decade would be a treat to watch. The problem of course is being lucky enough to watch him fall to the bottom of the top 10. In just about every mock draft you see, Randle’s floor is either the #6 pick Boston or the #7 pick with LA- and if the draft holds true to form then yes, its hard to imagine Randle sliding to the Raptors imaginary #9 pick.
Except in every draft there are unpredictable moments. Take last year’s draft for example when Bennet goes #1 to Cleveland and Noel falls to #6 behind even Alex Len! Every year players who should go early drop. Only a few years back Ed Davis went from being the top prospect on the ESPN big board in September to the #14 pick of the Toronto Raptors on draft night. Same for Harrison Barnes or Andre Drummond in 2012 who were both projected top five picks but fell to #7 and #9. In 2011 it was Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker and Kawhi Leonard who’s stocked dropped for unknown reasons on draft night with Leonard falling to #15. Heck, even Rajon Rondo who was project as a top 5 pick in 2006 had to wait to #21 to get his name called! So, anything is possible. Also, we know the Celtics, who own multiple picks (#s 6 and 17) will be active on draft night, perhaps trying to acquire Kevin Love or to move up into the top 3. Same is true for the Lakers who are always looking to remain in the spot light and who last season were irrelevant for the first time in decades and would certainly consider moving their pick for immediate help. And therefore since you can guarantee the Celtics or Lakers will keep the pick, you also cant rule out the possibility of Randle slipping through the cracks. Imagine how sweet that would be! A perfect draft night indeed! You would lose DeRozan but come back with Randle, Henderson, and Glen Robinson III (with the #20 pick). It is fun to dream sometimes.