Raptors Looking At Defense First In The Draft | Pro Bball Report

“I have always thought that if you could get defensive minded players that’s more important than offensive minded players because all of the (skills like) shooting and offensive-type principles, you can work on those, you can build on those, but the mentality of a defensive player, a lot of time, it’s ingrained,” Tolzman said. “If you get a guy who is not into playing defense or just doesn’t buy into that, that’s always tough to develop a guy like that to become a defensive player. Whereas, if you draft a guy who is a defensive guy – maybe his shot isn’t perfect or he doesn’t have the best ball handling skills – you can work on that. That is the whole idea of assistant coaches working on player development. Defense might be what gets him on the floor as a rookie because he busts his tail, because he isn’t afraid to mix it up defensively and all that other stuff will come over time and that’s where they develop into better players that way.”

The Spurs, Heat and Raptors. What Toronto Can Learn from the NBA Finalists | Raptors HQ

After losing to that veteran Nets team, the Raptors at times showed a loose grasp on their IQ fundamentals. The play of youngsters Ross and Jonas Valanciunas stands out as the most obvious area for improvement, with both making shaky decisions throughout the series or, even worse, no decision at all. Likewise, at times Vasquez could be known to play just a bit too confidently (i.e. recklessly). And the less said about the preponderance of 4-point plays for the Nets in that series the better. The final conclusion: the team needs to just plain sharpen up.

Raptors Best Draft Pick Prospects From The Workouts So Far | Pro Bball Report

The best player to walk into the gym so far has been Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis and while Raptors President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri has seen Ennis play several times and heaped praise on the young Canadian, he acknowledged they do not expect Ennis to be available when they draft at 20 in the first round. Ujiri also indicated he likes the shooting guards in the first round, however Canadian Nik Stauskas still hasn’t made an appearance in Toronto and he isn’t expected to be available when the Raptors get to pick either. So unless Ujiri can make a deal, and everyone believes they are working hard to get something done to move up despite the team’s strongly worded cautions to the contrary, Toronto will not be drafting a Canadian in the first round. Trading up in any draft is hard to do.

Send me any Raptors-related link; at this point, I’m not very picky: [email protected]

  • caccia

    It would not be a great surprise to see the Raptors trade up in order to get Ennis. It would take #20 and a player or two that might fit in the other team’s style of play. Surely, Hansbrough could be used more effectively than he has been in Toronto or Indiana, with their ball-control, half-court offences. He has a very reasonable contract and very good advanced stats.

    As for the idea of drafting someone who already plays defence rather than offence, I have to disagree. Most guys who make it to the NBA or the upper echelon of college teams spend half their waking hours practicing dribbling, jumpers, layups, dunks, free throws. There are a few players, especially foreigners, who came late to the game, but usually the best guys are identified by the time they are 14. Whether these youngsters get the proper coaching is a different story, of course. But both sides of the court require immense skill, effort, and years of preparation.

    • Abused Raptors Fan

      The reason drafting prospects who excel on the defensive end, but are unpolished or less effective on offense is preferable to drafting offensively talented players who lack defensive fundamentals/instincts is clearly illustrated in the Raptors own All-Star – DeMar DeRozan. Looking at his improvement since he’s entered the NBA, its clear that his offensive development drastically outpaced his defensive development, which, in all likelihood, will never catch up. The point here is that offensive development occurs through repetition and practice – a developmental route most players have few problems with and often enjoy (although to varying degrees). And, while DeRozan’s inability to consistently shot from behind the arc simultaneously demonstrates an important caveat – that there is a limit to each prospects developmental potential, the point remains the same. What’s more, many of the league’s marquee players, including top scorers like Carmelo Anthony, James Harden and Kevin Love, help reinforce the point as further examples of top tier talent that came into the league defensively weak and remained so for the entire careers to this point. This point is even more pertinent given the Raptors draft position, as its unlikely they’ll draft a player(s) who will eventually develop into an elite 2-way player. Rather, I’m sure they’d consider their picks successful if they develop a high end rotation player who plays great defense and doesn’t hurt you on the other end, whereby any offensive production beyond keeping an opposing defense honest is an added bonus.

      Part of the problem is actually the amount of practice time/effort these collegiate players devote to the offensive end before entering the league, particularly as kids. This is because of the body control and strength required to properly shoot long distance shots, especially jump shots. Until someone develops enough strength in their legs to completely power their jump shot, any and all practice merely
      contributes to poor shooting mechanics/form as they resort to using their arms more to power their shot, particularly their off-hand. At least, that’s my 2 cents on it.

    • caccia

      HoopsHype now has Tyler Ennis going to Toronto at #20. Ennis, Payne (#23), and Warren (#24) might actually fall that far. Of course, they also have Kyle Anderson going to the Hawks at #15.