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Old 04-19-2012, 12:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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ESPN: Draft fits for the Raptors

The Toronto Raptors, believe it or not, had about as perfect a season as they could have hoped for, outside of becoming a serious contender, that is.

First and foremost, first-year coach Dwayne Casey proved to be a keeper, convincing his players to defend with better purpose and passion. Perhaps only the New York Knicks improved as much on defense from last season, and this improvement in Toronto will be a strong foundation moving forward.

Then they watched as their top pick from last June's draft, Jonas Valanciunas, proved to be the exciting prospect they had hoped for, as he played well last summer and through his current season in Europe. And all this happened while the Raptors kept losing games, assuring them of a very high draft pick in the 2012 draft. Indeed, this team obviously still has a lot of needs. But it looks like the Raptors should be able to fill an important spot no matter where they pick in the lottery come May 30. This is a team that is rapidly acquiring and developing talent.
NBA Draft - Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards team needs - ESPN

Needs: Athleticism on the front line, perimeter shooters on the wings, guard depth

The obvious pick: Anthony Davis

Kind of fits: Andre Drummond

Bad fit: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Kidd-Gilchrist would give them much-needed athleticism and energy but his poor perimeter shooting will not likely allow him to stretch defenses for some time, if ever. However, let's be clear, Kidd-Gilchrist would not be a disaterous pick. It's just that picking so high, the Raptors will have better choices available.

Perfect fit: Bradley Beal, Thomas Robinson

DeMar DeRozan is a good NBA scorer, but his lack of perimeter shooting and suspect defense warrants looking into a replacement, if it makes sense. It does with Beal, as he projects as an outstanding shooter and a very good scorer. He should become a better player than DeRozan in almost every other facet of the game. In fact, adding Beal would allow them to bring DeRozan off the bench, where he could end up being an excellent sixth man while still being a primary scorer. Both guys could even finish games together as Beal will be able to defend many small forwards thanks to his length and strength. Toronto can't go wrong with Robinson either, as he fills a huge need for athleticism on the front line with the perfect game for Casey -- tough and energetic and willing to fight and defend. He'd play major minutes as a rookie and improve the Raptors in his first season.

Last edited by jeffb; 04-19-2012 at 12:22 AM.
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