Wednesday marked the latest step in the Raptors’ lead-up to the 2017 NBA Draft. Today’s Draft Workout at the BioSteel Centre brought an intriguing mixture of talent and size, and should be a satisfying sight for any draft fans that have been waiting for some bigger names to come to Toronto. The first seven workouts saw a total of two players ranked in the Draft Express top-30, today brought us two on it’s own.
The Raptors have clearly made an effort in recent years to use their workouts to scout potential second rounders and undrafted players. The draft process is a key opportunity for team’s to evaluate players for the future, or to gain knowledge and build relationships for possible summer league and training camp invites.
When reviewing the latest round of mock drafts online, the variance for where players are expected to fall is incredibly wide. Some players are viewed as potential first rounders by some pundits, and undrafted by others. The Raptors therefore have to cast a wide net in their efforts to evaluate potential picks.
Today brought a little of everything, but the big names that could be given consideration when the Raptors are on the clock at 23 are likely Ike Anigbogu and Jonathan Jeanne.
Here’s the full list of players who attended the workout:
Draft Express Ranking: Unranked
At one time Kasey Hill was an All American and was the 8th best prospect in his high school class, but now he is a prospect that Draft Express hasn’t written about since September 2014. Kasey will also be turning 24 in December, putting him on the very high end of the draft age spectrum.
In all likelihood, the Raptors simply needed a guard to facilitate during today’s workout scrimmages. At 6’1, with a 6’4 wingspan and muscular build, Hill’s best attribute is his speed. Draft Express (circa 2014) also mentions his good explosiveness, which would have been a good tool when evaluating the mobility of today’s workout bigs.
Draft Express Ranking: Unranked
Unlike Kasey Hill, Troy Caupain was not highly regarded coming out of high school, but they would now be viewed as the same level of prospect. The main difference here is that Caupain has a little more size and length (6’3.5 with a 6’7 wingspan), but is not as explosive an athlete as Kasey.
What he does provide is speed and strength. Troy was used by the Bearcats both on and off the ball, and was often used to space the floor. While his 32.5 percent from beyond the arc doesn’t jump off the page, Troy was enough of a threat to keep defenses honest when playing in a spot up role.
Draft Express Ranking: 73
Here is where things start to get interesting. Despite likely going undrafted, and at best possibly being a mid-second round selection, I love the Raptors taking a look at Nigel Hayes. He was at one time viewed as a first round pick when playing alongside of Frank “Better Than 4 First Round Picks” Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, which makes one realize how long he has been at Wisconsin.
At 6’7 and 254 lbs, and an over 7’3 wingspan, Hayes certainly has the physical components to match up against NBA Power Forwards in more traditional line-ups, or as a potential small ball center. And while finding the next Draymond Green is a likely a fools errand (let’s face it, that guy is just special in the way he thinks the game too), Hayes’ measurements are almost identical to Draymond’s pre-draft measurements. except for the extra 18 lbs that he brings to the table over Green.
So let’s get it out of the way right now: Nigel Hayes is not going to be Draymond Green. He is just physically built like him in a lot of ways.
What gives me hope for Hayes it the way he excelled as a third option when playing with Dekker and Kaminsky. Any team that gets Hayes as an undrafted player will not be looking for him as a player who dominates the ball. He will be there for rebounding, defense, and energy.
The biggest weakness for Hayes right now is his shooting. If he can develop into a stretch-four, or even a stretch-center in small ball line-ups, he suddenly becomes a very intriguing option off a team’s bench. In recent years the Raptors have shown a confidence in their ability to develop a player’s shooting mechanics. This is most notable in the success of Norman Powell who was criticized during his draft for lack of shooting, but is also something they are working on with Delon Wright, Pascal Siakam, and Jakob Poeltl.
Hayes should be a prime target for any team if he were to go undrafted, and could be a great option for one of Toronto’s two-way contracts.
Draft Express Ranking: 43
This dude can score, as he demonstrated in the 5-on-5 portion of the NBA Draft Combine. Kuzma put up 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists in 20 minutes of combine action. He also hit 4-of-5 shots from deep, and could help the Raptors when it comes to their shooting woes.
Kuzma has good size for a power forward (6’9, 223lbs, 7’0 wingspan), but will need to develop on the defensive side of the ball to have a long career. While strong workouts could push him into the late first round, in all likelihood he will fall somewhere in round two.
Draft Express Ranking: 15
In terms of ranking, Anigbogu may be the top ranked prospect to work out for the Raptors at this point, and has a good chance of not being available when Toronto picks at 23. While he is a mixed bag when it comes to production and current skill level, there are few doubting the raw tools that he brings to the table.
Anigbogu is an explosive athlete and brings a constant energy to the court. Check out what Draft Express had to say about him in April:
The intrigue with Anigbogu starts with his excellent frame, standing 6’10” with long arms, an excellent standing reach, and a strong lower body. He’s also quick on his feet, fast off the ground, changes direction well, has a very quick second jump, and brings a consistently high energy level, providing him with many of the attributes that NBA teams look for in the modern NBA big man. Those physical tools provide Anigbogu with a strong starting point, allowing him to make an impact even as his overall skill level catches up.
Anigbogu brings almost all of the physical tools that you can want to the center position, but the skillset has a long way to develop before he can be a consistent contributor.
Like all prospects at this time of year though, it is easy to find a workout video of Anigbogu draining jumpshots in the controlled setting of a mostly empty gym.
As presently constructed, it’s tough to see how Anigbogu would fit on the Raptors. With Jonas, Poeltl, and Bebe under contract currently, and the possibility of re-signing Ibaka, minutes at center would be at a premium. As is always the case when it comes to the draft though, taking the best player available and figuring out fit later is the best route to go, as depth and roster construction can change so quickly.
*Ike did not workout today. Was brought in for an interview and a physical. (Source, Josh Lewenberg)
Draft Express Ranking: 19
Jeanne currently has some weight issues, as in he doesn’t have enough of it. At just 207 lbs it is tough to see him contributing at any point in the immediate future, but could be worth a long term gamble for a team that is willing to wait. At 7’2, with a 7’6.5 wingspan, and a 9’5 standing reach (seriously, 9’5!!), he certainly has the body to add some extra weight/strength and would be a big benefactor from an NBA training regimen (added 20 lbs over last year).
Much like Kuzma, Jeanne had an excellent showing in the 5-on-5 section of the combine, putting up 14 points (7-9 shooting), 9 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals in just 26 minutes. This was all the more important considering Jeanne left his team in France to participate in the combine.
What makes Jeanne so interesting is the versatility he brings to the offensive end. Draft Express wrote the following after his performance in the combine:
Jeanne did a great job all Combine long of setting screens and rolling to the basket. Despite not having much bulk, he has great timing and knows how to use his body to create space and give his guards the right angle to penetrate and deliver the ball around the rim. His freakish length gives him the ability to finish around the basket without barely needing to jump, as evidenced by the 71% he shot from 2-point range in Chicago. He has reliable hands, strong footwork, and excellent body control maneuvering around the paint, to go along with soft touch and the ability to use both hands around the basket. He ran the floor hard both days, made some interesting passes, and even knocked down a handful of mid-range jumpers, including one impressive pull-up, demonstrating a much higher level of skill than you typically see from a 19-year old 7-footer.
His physical tools are a sign of the defensive force that he could become, but he is functionally just a long and agile body at the moment. It may take some in the D-League, but he could develop into something special.
With high potential on both sides of the ball, and great mobility for his size, it’s easy to see why team’s are intrigued about Jeanne’s ceiling. If you want to get excited about Jeanne, check out this interview/workout video. On a related note, Jeanne is currently Chad Ford’s selection for Toronto at 23 in his latest mock draft.
Besides, Bruno could use another long-armed friend to hang out with.
Dan Tolzman had stuff to say:
- As a reminder, the draft takes place on June 22. We’ve got a long way to go.
- The adidas Eurocamp also goes down June 9-11, if you’re looking ahead to future drafts.
- You can keep up with any workout notes you may have missed here.
- The Raptors will be holding pre-draft workouts over the next two days.
*A NOTE ON THIS PROCESS: We’re going to hear a lot of names rumored or reported to be coming in/meeting/working out/etc. I’m not always going to pass them on, especially this early in the process. A lot of it is due diligence and doesn’t mean a ton, and they’re also just low-value posts (“Rumor: Player X to work out”). Sometimes there will be (good) reasons the team doesn’t want the names public or a player can’t come in (Visa or scheduling issues). If anyone does visit and there’s media availability, we’ll have you covered. Obviously, feel free to comment and discuss those rumors (Hoops Hype is a good source for rumor aggregation) in the comments/forums, I just may not always throw a post up. Closer to the draft, as we get into second workouts or if someone outside of Toronto’s range visits, that information becomes a little more important.