On Pro Bball Report last week: Raptors best draft prospects, defense in the draft, shot blockers, point guards and Canadians, poaching from the Pacers and more.
Of the players Toronto has looked at, McDaniels easily stands out as the guy the Raptors should take in the first round at 20. Probably the most athletic player in the draft after Andrew Wiggins, McDaniels is the defensive-minded wing that will tickle Head Coach Dwane Casey’s fancy. “(McDaniels’ athleticism) will absolutely translate,” Tolzman said.
“We were actually talking the other day how we wished free agency happened before the draft and we would have a so much easier time,” Tolzman said. “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.”
“It was a great workout today,” Tolzman said. “As you know, we had a couple of Canadian kids in and they played really well. Khem (Birch), he is so athletic and he’s got the length and the shot blocking and the rebounding. He is an intriguing player because he is the type of player that the NBA is going to more – athletic, nimble types of bigs and he is right in that group. Melvin (Ejim), he is another guy that is intriguing because he plays so hard defensively.”
“We brought in all the point guards – or a handful of point guards that we are kind of considering (at) 20 thru 37. We kind of brought them all in and got a look at them. Russ (Smith) is as fast as they get and he showed that today. Unfortunately Jahii Carson got hurt yesterday at a workout so he couldn’t go and he’s another extremely fast player, so we didn’t get to see him today. Jordan Clarkson played extremely well and Nick Johnson played well too. He showed his athleticism and shot the ball well. They all played well.”
The Pacers have over $60 million in guaranteed salaries for next season split between 8 players and if they want to retain Luis Scola that number rises to about $65 million. The luxury tax shy Pacers do not have a lot of wiggle-room and they need to either add talent or make some significant trades. It isn’t going to be easy for Bird to stand pat and hold onto free agents Evan Turner, Lavoy Allen or Lance Stephenson in any case.
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“I think it is more important (to get) the fit,” Ennis said. “There are people that have to go high and (may) not fit on a team and I think it is more important to end up on a team where you are needed and you are able to be successful rather than being a high draft pick and it’s tough for players, we don’t get to choose where we go and you just have to hope you end up in the right spot with whatever team picks you.”
“Those draft boards as fun as they are to look at and when you are in college, when you get on a draft board it’s big news, but one thing I’ve come to learn is that no one knows the future,” Bachynski said. “I just try to stay focused and do the things I can do and another thing, they don’t take into account team need. There are very few bigs in this draft and there is a big need for bigs and especially rim protectors.”
“We have needs on the team, but at some point you go best player available,” Ujiri said. “Especially in this kind of a draft maybe because it’s a little overrated from the beginning when we first started talking about it until now, but it’s pretty good, there is talent. Maybe the two-guard position there is a couple of younger guys there that are pretty good.”
“Things seem to go more smoothly here,” Patterson said. “The transition was easy due to my relationship with the guys and having a great coach – Casey – Kentucky relationship right there as well.”
“Now he has experience to draw back from in reading situations,” Casey said. “3-and-D, I like that, that’s pretty good. That’s probably pretty good description. We want him to be more of a pick-and-roll guy, that’s the next step in (his) growth.”
There are some interesting big men available outside of the lottery, however, there isn’t much agreement out there about where they should fall on June 26. It’s even possible to find a prospect listed as a late lottery pick in one mock draft and as a second round selection in another.