The Toronto Raptors held their third pre-draft workout at BioSteel Centre on Wednesday, once again with no media availability. As a reminder, the Raptors have no picks, so the names throughout this process might be a little underwhelming compared to the last few seasons and focused instead on 905/Summer League/future plans. For reference, ESPN’s Top 100 prospects list is our basis for the rankings that follow. Here are some quick notes on the names, as well as some non-draft news and notes below.
Here’s the full list of players who attended the workout:
|Jacobi Boykins||Guard||6-6||Louisiana Tech|
|Darius Thompson||Guard||6-3||Western Kentucky|
ESPN Rank: N/A
Look, I’m all in on any player who was ejected from a game for dunking too hard. No, for real, this happened – Boykins was playing with one technical foul already and inexplicably received a second technical for dunking too viciously. Anyway, that might be the most notable highlight from Boykins, but it’s not the only thing he accomplished over four years with Louisiana Tech. In both his junior and senior seasons, he averaged 14.7 points on solid efficiency thanks to a 40.1-percent mark on a large volume of threes and an elite free-throw percentage. He didn’t quite come along as a secondary playmaker on the wing, but at 6-foot-6 has good size for a shooting guard and deep range on his jumper. He also possesses some of the defense necessary for a potential “3-and-D” future, earning C-USA All-Defensive Team honors as a junior and making Third Team All-Conference twice. Mike Schmitz had even identified him as a potential sleeper entering the year (that link includes a story about Boykins surviving a bad car accident in high school), and the plateauing of his numbers perhaps has him undervalued as a potential undrafted Summer League addition.
JACOBI BOYKINS WITH NO REGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE TURNING DEFENSE INTO OFFENSE AND A….
— beIN COLLEGE SPORTS (@beINCOLLEGE) February 9, 2018
ESPN Rank: N/A
Does a 6-foot-8 off-guard/forward strike you as someone with the positional size and versatility that generally fits what the Raptors look for in their undervalued draft finds? Reynolds is an interesting case as someone who stuck around for a fifth year at Tulane even as the rest of his incoming class graduated (he red-shirted his sophomore year due to injury) , and while that didn’t really help his draft stock – his scoring average dipped slightly as his 3-point percentage dropped from 38.8 percent to 35.3 percent – he was able to take steps as a playmaker and ostensibly as a leader. Despite the five years in college, he’s still just 23, and his AAC Most Improved Player award from 2016-17 suggests there’s still upside to tap into.
Maybe I’m jus to G
— Cam Reynolds (@CamoCinco) June 2, 2018
ESPN Rank: N/A
A little Canadian content for this workout, the Toronto-born Robertson – he went to high school at Thornlea and then Vaughan – leveraged a strong senior transfer season with Missouri after four solid years at Canisius to get on the Raptors’ radar here. Originally, Robertson was expected to play off of Michael Porter Jr. as a 3-point specialist, but the sure-fire lottery pick’s injury left Robertson playing a larger role that seemed to agree with him. Not only did Robertson continue hitting threes at an elite rate – 41.6 percent on nearly 700 attempts over his final three college seasons – but he saw a small up-tick in assist rate and true-shooting percentage despite the more challenging environment (though he is 24, which helps). He’s still not exceptionally well-rounded, but he’s among the better shooters likely to be available for a flier once the draft concludes.
ESPN Rank: N/A
Has Marquette ever produced a player that doesn’t get the “toughness” tag when they enter the draft? The 5-foot-11 point guard, who landed in Marquette for two years after two seasons with UNC-Asheville, continues that trend. He also took a major step forward in his senior year, jumping from 11.6 points and 2.3 assists to 20.5 and 4.8, respectively. Even as a fourth-year player in his second year in the more competitive conference environment, that’s a notable jump. He also rounded out his college career with a 40.8-percent mark on nearly 1,000 3-point attempts, so you can see what the Raptors were looking for up and down this particular workout. A former Big East Sixth Man of the Year and All-Big East Honorable Mention, Rowsey also has the “prove em” backstory the Raptors tend to gravitate towards. Of course, he’s a little small, will probably struggle in traffic at the next level, and will turn 24 before the draft, so he comes with the same caveats every player the Raptors have worked out does, given they don’t have a pick.
ESPN Rank: N/A
It’s been a circuitous route here for Thompson, who played at three different colleges over four seasons (plus a redshirt) before finally breaking out at Western Kentucky this season. Still just 23 despite being in college since 2013, Thompson averaged 13.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.5 steals this year, numbers he never touched at any other stop. He also shot 35.5 percent on threes, continuing a career-long trend of decent marksmanship on steady volume, and was able to show his playmaking and floor generalship in an expanded role. Thompson is actually on Sports Illustrated’s Top 100 prospects, too, so he may be worth digging in on further. (A note if you’re researching him: ESPN mistakenly credits a different Darius Thompson’s stats from UT-Martin this year on Thompson’s page.)
What's up Darius "Cornrow" Thompson pic.twitter.com/9N21jb0NZg
— Dominique Yates (@RealDYates) February 11, 2018
ESPN Rank: N/A
Coming off of four years of incremental improvement at VCU, Tillman made quite an impression at the Portsmouth Invitational, posting three consecutive double-doubles and throwing down some big dunks. He was able to show off his open-court speed and his knack for slashing through traffic, even flashing a bit of a post game (albeit one he’s unlikely to use much at the next level). As a senior, Tillman took on a greatly expanded role, averaging 18.9 points and 9.9 rebounds, and he even started attempting threes for the first time (32.9 percent). There’s a fair amount to like with his motor and elite rebounding from the forward spot, and that he can create his own offense a bit is an added bonus. It’s the progress of that jumper that will likely determine how far he makes it as a pro, and he’s not an exceptional defender at either forward spot, although he’s physical and appears to put the effort in. He would make for a fairly interesting Raptors 905 project.
- Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that Dwane Casey is still a primary focus of the Detroit Pistons, to the extent that they’d like to meet with him once again (they met late last week and Casey was said to be impressive). It should come as little surprise that Casey’s quickly found interest, and Detroit closing out their coaching search would leave Toronto as the only remaining vacancy.
- Sticking on the coaching front, if you look at NBA betting odds, you may be able to get a picture of where the Raptors are leaning. Jerry Stackhouse is out in front based on the latest update, and it would seem oddsmakers are leaning heavily toward an internal hire in general. There are no odds for Sarunas Jasikevicius, who reportedly interviewed as well.
- Jerry Stackhouse 1/1
- Nick Nurse 2/1
- Ettore Messina 5/1
- Ime Udoka 5/1
- Rex Kalamian 6/1
- On ESPN last night, Wojnarowski indicated the following:
- The Raptors hope to have their coaching search completed within a week.
- The league is well aware that nobody in Toronto is untouchable. Nor should anyone be.
- Neither of these updates are groundbreaking – they both follow general common sense – but it’s always interesting when common sense shifts to reported speculation.
- Underclassmen have until June 11 to withdraw from the draft, but 100 have already done so, including two of the 11 players the Raptors had already worked out: Jalen McDaniels and Jon Elmore. There’s still plenty of value in those workouts, though, as the Raptors got to know the players a bit and create a scouting baseline to measure their 2018-19 progress against.
- As a reminder, the draft takes place on June 21, so things should start ramping up a bit. The Raptors don’t have their next draft workouts schedule yet, but they might be fairly sparse or random given the lack of a pick. There were also the new NBA-run Eurocamp in Italy this past weekend as well as scouting events in Chicago and Los Angeles in the past few weeks.
*A NOTE ON THIS PROCESS: Normally, this is one of the most fun times of the year, and this process note includes information on what we will and won’t post in terms of rumors and meetings and visits. To be honest, with no draft pick this time around, the process is going to lack some punch. We’ll still pass along the names that come in and work out, because they could pop up if the team acquires a pick later or is filling out the Summer League or Raptors 905 roster or whatever. It’s tough, without a pick, to get agents to bring high-end prospects in, though. There’s simply no upside for the prospect, and so the Raptors will probably have to do their diligence at agency camps/workouts and through their regular scouting process. The Raptors would like to get into the draft if they can, so these aren’t meaningless, they just might lack big names.