2022 NBA Draft: Targets at 33, The Other Guys

Part 3 in Brendan's 2022 Draft Series

26 mins read

The final part of this year’s draft series! As there will likely be a wide range of options to consider with the 33rd pick, I’ll do my best to give brief but thorough descriptions for the prospects that will likely be on the board and provide the best value in this range.

For part one on Jaylin Williams and Andrew Nembhard, please check here.

For part two on Jake LaRavia, please check here.

I want to make it clear that the three players I’ve previously covered this draft cycle would be my top three realistic choices with this year’s pick. I believe that it will be pretty likely that at least one of them will be available.

Seeing as the early second round range of players is pretty large, I find it best to cast a wide net of analysis just so Raptors fans can be familiar with some of the names that will likely still be on the board.

Alondes Williams | Point Guard | Wake Forest | H: 6’5, WS: 6’7 | Age: 23

One of the best passing guards in the draft, Alondes Williams makes sense if the Raptors are looking to draft an athletic guard who can come in and give replacement minutes while Fred VanVleet is off the floor. He always seems to know where his teammates are located and excelled while having another excellent playmaker (LaRavia) in the frontcourt who could play off of him. Seeing as Siakam and Barnes would be able to replace that role for Alondes, he should theoretically excel at making plays on and off the ball in Toronto as well.

Personally, I’d prefer the more cerebral play of Andrew Nembhard at this pick; but Alondes would be a welcome change in playstyle in the Raptors’ backcourt that has been so small for so long. His athleticism, length, and ability to grab rebounds and run the floor would mean he’s practically a plug-and-play guy in the Raptors’ transition heavy offence, and he’d be able to cause chaos running downhill and getting to the rim in a way that Raptors guards don’t usually do. His rim finishing was an astonishing 61% at Wake Forest, and a guard capable of such rim pressure would be a much needed of pace.

The shooting is a big concern. Given his age and slow improvement in that area, I would be surprised if he becomes a positive outside shooter in the NBA. He’s a career 27% shooter from outside on just under 4 attempts per 36 minutes. The shot isn’t completely broken, but it’s difficult to be optimistic about the long term outlook given his age. I’m not overly sold on Alondes as a defender either. His defensive stats were nothing to write home about, and he was often a step slow on this end of the court in most games that I watched. From what I can tell he’s just either unfocused or undisciplined. That said, he had his moments on defence from time to time and he should be able to switch between guards and some smaller wings. With his physical tools, I could envision a team turning him into a solid defender.

Speaking of physical tools, that’s ultimately the draw with the ACC Player of the Year. You’re getting a wing-sized point guard with pretty fantastic court vision and awareness.

Plus, he’s just fun.

Caleb Houstan | Forward/Wing | Michigan | H: 6’8, WS: N/A | Age: 19

Some will take a look at Houstan’s production at Michigan, cringe, and move on to the next prospect. While Houstan would tell you himself that he could have had a better year in college, I don’t think that’s enough to completely wipe him from consideration in this range of the draft.

The Canadian sharpshooter was Scottie Barnes’ teammate at Montverde Academy, so there would be some pre-existing chemistry between the two which would be appealing to Raptors brass.

With a majority of his shots coming from beyond the arc at Michigan, an NBA front office is going to be selecting Houstan to be a specialist. At this point in the draft, bigger players who project to be three point shooting specialists are pretty valuable, and Houstan still gives reasons to be optimistic about how he projects in this role. He shot pretty well on deep range threes with 37%, so I don’t have a lot of concerns about his shot at the next level.

Coming to the Raptors, Houstan is going to be a guy brought off the bench and expected to make threes. It goes without saying that even in spite of his underwhelming season at Michigan, he would be one of the better three point shooting prospects brought on to the Raptors in recent years. Having a reliable floor spacer on the bench would help bolster the depth as well as provide an additional offensive piece to a team in dire need of one. I wouldn’t ever expect Houstan to be a self creator. His burst is too poor and he doesn’t have much of a handle that would help him in that area. If you can refine him to be an elite off ball shooter, I would consider that a pretty great pick at this point in the draft.

Defensively, most of the upside with Houstan lies in his size at his position. As a decently sized forward, I would expect him to be able to cover most forwards and wings, though his poor strength could be a problem against bigger and stronger players. I don’t expect him to be an amazing defender, but I doubt Nick Nurse would bench him either.

If the Raptors front office is in search of a floor spacing prospect who can use his size to his advantage on offence and stay on the floor defensively, I don’t see why Houstan wouldn’t top their list.

Christian Braun | Wing | Kansas | H: 6’7, WS: 6’6.5 | Age: 21

Though his teammate Ochai Agbaji is expected to be the big Kansas name in this draft, Christian Braun is still very much worth a pick due to his elite athleticism and defensive potential.

Braun projects to be fairly decent from deep, especially as a spot up shooter. I wouldn’t expect him to be much of a scorer off the dribble, but being able to drive to the rim and shoot like he can will nonetheless give him a role in the league. He’s another jack-of-all-trades prospect, and I expect his combination of shooting and defensive effort would be a welcome addition to the Raptors.

He moves his feet well on the defensive end and plays with a lot of effort. He held pick and roll ball handlers to a very low 26% from the floor, while Braun’s opponents who isolated against him only shot 24%.

His shooting was relatively low volume, and he doesn’t have much of a handle unless he’s moving in a straight line, but there isn’t much about his game that screams “bust”. He may not be the sexiest pick, but he’s good, and that’s what you want when you get into the second round.

I don’t know if Braun makes it to the second round, but as far as two-way wings go at this point in the draft, I struggle to think of many better options. Having a wing like Braun come off the bench and provide some two-way versatility at the 2/3 could help the Raps out a lot.

Bryce McGowens | Guard | Nebraska | H: 6’6.5, WS: 6’8.75 | Age: 19.6

Team Draft-a-Hooper can rejoice!

Are you tired of the Raptors’ offence fizzling out in the regular season? Did Bobby Webster’s comments about prioritizing defence and “…if they can make a shot, great” slightly concern you? You probably want a guy who can generate offence for himself and get buckets in crafty ways when things are looking bleak. Bryce McGowens is one such player at this point in the draft who projects to fit that archetype… kind of.

I’m not crazy about McGowens’ shooting range, though he did shoot better in high school so perhaps his recent college campaign of 27% was an outlier.

His length at his position will prove to be pretty valuable, as McGowens will often use his size and long arms to be able to get to his spots on the offensive end. His mid-range game looks pretty solid and it’s a big reason why he projects to be a shot creator at the next level.

He’s a fairly confident slasher and has a pretty wide variety of moves that he uses once he’s inside the arc. He’s become pretty adept at using his floater and he has some soft touch at the rim as well.

McGowens is a fairly good ball handler, especially when compared to his contemporaries at this point in the draft. I’d bet on him being a fairly good off-the-dribble creator down the line, and his ability to get to the rim is already quite good.

Defensively I’m not optimistic with McGowens at all. There just isn’t much there beyond having a plus wingspan. He doesn’t have the defensive IQ or the effort to really project to a positive defender at the next level. His playmaking is also not something to brag about, as he had one assist or less in 20/31 games. He doesn’t exactly look to get his teammates involved.

McGowens has been a popular name on Raptors twitter, likely because he projects to be a scoring presence that the Raptors oh-so-desperately need. Personally I’m a little lower on him, but I feel as though doing the due diligence on him couldn’t hurt.

Christian Koloko | Big | Arizona | H: 7’0, WS: 7’5.25 | Age: 22

Koloko is the most traditional big man on this list and a name I’ve seen a lot of Raptors fans clamouring for since the draft process really get under way. It makes sense, as he’s arguably the biggest positional need and he was one of the more dominant defenders in all of college basketball.

However, like Alondes Williams, he’s also the one of the oldest players I’ve covered this cycle. As a player who has a lot of growing to do on the offensive end, this is a concern.

Offensively there just isn’t much to write home about. He’s very quick and mobile, and he can play above the rim. Expect him to be used primarily as a lob threat or someone who gets putbacks in the NBA. Despite shooting well at the combine, I don’t have a lot of faith in his form where I can tell anyone to expect him to be a shooter down the line.

On the defensive end lay all the reasons why a team would draft Koloko. I mentioned his mobility before, and he can really use that to his advantage on this end of the floor. In college he was dominant at defending the paint and could reliably switch out to guard perimeter players, and I think that’s the upside play that makes Koloko appealing. A big man of his athleticism and stature being able to switch on to the perimeter and recover inside for some nasty blocks would certainly bolster a defence, and the Raptors’ evident need for a rim protector would surely have them giving Koloko’s tape several looks. The appeal is very apparent here when it comes to the PAC-12 DPOY.

Like Alondes, Koloko is very good at what he does. Despite being good at what he does, I can’t see him developing much on the offensive end. I mentioned in my Jake LaRavia analysis how people tend to get enamoured with physical freaks, and Koloko’s athleticism certainly does him a lot of favours, don’t get me wrong. That said, if the Raptors wanted to select a big, I personally couldn’t be persuaded to select Koloko over Jaylin Williams simply due to how large the offensive gap is between the two – along with Jaylin being the younger player. While Jaylin may not be the athlete Koloko is on the defensive end, he still makes his money on that end of the floor by being a very smart coverage guy and using his presence to dissuade shots due to his ability to move well and draw charges.

At the end of the day, a Koloko selection would be firmly in the “meh” territory for me. I definitely understand his appeal and wouldn’t object should my preferred big man be off the board and the Raptors want to pursue someone at that position.

Patrick Baldwin Jr. | Forward | Milwaukee | H: 6’10.25, WS: 7’1.75 | Age: 19.6

Similar to Houstan, Baldwin’s production at Milwaukee was… well let’s call a spade a spade here, it was putrid by most metrics.

I won’t spend as much time on Baldwin because most of what makes him appealing as a prospect is based purely on his upside as a 6’10 shooter. There is a reason why he was in consideration for a top 5 pick before the season started, and it’s because that shooting potential should still be projectable in the NBA.

Every time I watch Baldwin I’m amazed at how a player with his picture perfect, textbook shooting form somehow doesn’t swish all of his shots. I think a big part of it was role adjustment at Milwaukee. He simply doesn’t have the ability to be a number one option, and that’s fine. He’s clearly not the top pick that scouts once thought he was, but he still possesses a valuable skill at his size which makes him appealing for teams who need that combo of size and space… Teams like the Raptors.

Defensively is where the hype around Baldwin quiets down. He has his length, and that helps him a lot, but he has pretty slow feet and relies a lot on the help defence. I’m not too sure if I can project him to be as good of a defender as say, Houstan. You’re really just picking him if you believe in his shooting being as good as it was a year ago and improving from there.

I encourage everyone to dismiss their preconceived notions about Baldwin — and to just explore him as a specialist prospect who will be moving into a complimentary role in the NBA. Suddenly, he’ll be going from a number one option who has the entire defence focused on him to a guy who will be relied upon to shoot open jumpers off the catch, with maybe one or two defenders paying him any mind. He’d also be playing off of and providing spacing for players like Siakam and Barnes. Not only would that do wonders for his production, but his confidence as a player as well. His skillset as a shooter was never meant to be a guy who could carry an offence, and I believe that as soon as he settles into his new role in the NBA, people will be looking at him in a new light. This outcome is very situation dependent, however, and I could just as easily see Baldwin just flat out struggle to produce against better competition.

It’ll be a pretty big risk to select Baldwin, and I question whether or not the Raptors will want to take that gamble.

But can we just imagine PBJ in a Smuckers commercial with Gary Trent and Scottie Barnes? It honestly writes itself.

David Roddy | Forward | Colorado State | H: 6’6, WS: 6’11.5 | Age: 21

Roddy’s name has been coming up a lot lately, so I felt compelled to include him in this piece for that reason. I’ll be honest — I’m not the biggest fan of Roddy. I’ll be as impartial as I can while still trying to highlight why his selection would make me uneasy.

The man is just such an interesting player physically. He’s built like Rob Gronkowski and even played QB in high school. I’m pretty sure that due to Roddy’s stocky frame he’ll be able to withstand most players trying to shove him aside on the defensive end. That said, his mobility is pretty concerning, and I don’t think he’ll be able to hang with many quicker players. He is incredibly slow to close out and often can’t change direction very quickly.

With his size and shape, Roddy is simply a wrecking ball down the court. Even in the NBA it’s difficult to imagine many players wanting to stand in front of all 260 lbs of Roddy coming at them with a full head of steam.

His court vision at his position was pretty surprising to see, and I think he has the potential to make a name for himself as a point forward if he continues to improve that part of his game.

At Colorado State, an overwhelming amount of Roddy’s offence came off of post-ups. Will he be able to replicate that success against the bigger, stronger, and more experienced post defenders of the NBA? Roddy averaged about 4.5 touches in the post per game at Colorado State. A number surpassed only by Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic in the NBA. I think it’s safe to say that Roddy won’t get nearly as many opportunities to use his most reliable offensive play once he’s in the league.

Despite shooting 44% from three this past season, this was a sharp improvement over his previous two seasons where he shot 27% and 19%. I can’t help but wonder whether or not this is an outlier season for Roddy, as he hadn’t shown nearly as much prowess from beyond the arc before, and even then this was on pretty low volume at about 3 attempts per game (about 1 more attempt than the previous season).

I think these questions are preventing a lot of people, including myself, from having Roddy higher on their boards.

Ryan Rollins | Guard | Toledo | H: 6’3.25, WS: 6’9.75 | Age: 20

I think Rollins fits into a similar archetype as McGowens. The hooper crowd will definitely be overjoyed if he’s added to the roster, and I can understand some of the hype here as someone who is practically begging to see some kind of offensive upside added to the team for once.

I’ll get the concerns out of the way. Size wise, he’s about the same height as Norman Powell with none of the athleticism or burst that allowed Norm to evolve into an efficient scorer in the NBA. For a player who will be expected to generate offence at the next level, that’s a major concern.

His shot IQ is also questionable at best, and Rollins has generated kind of a hero-ball reputation around himself. He also has limited experience against good competition and underwhelmed in the few games Toledo played against higher ranked schools. He’s not an elite athlete and he has waning defensive effort.

A team in the second round would find Rollins appealing due to his shot-creating upside. He showcased a nice collection of off-the-dribble shotmaking at college and regularly made shots from the mid range. He needs to improve his outside shooting to have success in the NBA, though.

Rollins is pretty interesting to me, and I wonder if the Raptors may consider buying another second round pick to select him in the 40’s on draft night and bolster their depth.

Maybe I’m just thirsting for a bucket-getter though.