Quick Links

Raptors rebuilding through the draft


Raptors rebuilding through the draft

Geography and little tradition of winning have put Toronto in a tough spot. Unable to attract high-profile free-agents, the Raptors are going to have to build through the draft to turn around what has been a rough four-year stretch as the team hasn't made the playoffs since 2008. Last season, the Raptors struggled to a 23-43 mark and that came after a 22-60 mark the year before. It's going to be a long road back to respectability for Toronto.

In June, Toronto took guard Terence Ross with the 8th overall pick in the NBA draft. The 6'-7" Ross averaged 16 points and 6 rebounds in his sophomore season at Washington, but his pre-draft workouts helped his stock rise from a late first-rounder to a top 10 selection. In three summer league games, Ross put up 15 points in 31 minutes of action, but shooting just 38 percent from the field. Raptors second-year coach Dwayne Casey has indicated that he would likely bring Ross off the bench as a sixth man in his rookie season.

Toronto also gets 2011 first-round draft pick center Jonas Valanciunas for the upcoming season. Valanciunas was under contract overseas and didn't play for the Raptors last year. Toronto hopes the big 7-footer is worth the wait. Valanciunas, FIBA's young men's player of the year in 2011, was considered the best big man prospect in that 2011 draft. He likely will be the starting center immediately as the Raptors went with Amir Johnson and Jamal Magliore at the 5 last season. Valanciunas is also defensive minded and can help the frontcourt with a more offensively focused Andrea Bargnani.

The Raptors added athletic swingman Landry Fields through free agency and traded for point guard Kyle Lowry. Fields is a very active defensive minded player who spent the last few years in New York. Lowry was unhappy in Houston and got out after averaging 14 points and 7 assists a game for the Rockets.

With the Raptors also inking veteran back up point guard John Lucas III to a two-year deal, the writing is on the wall for last season's starter Jose Calderon as he will likely get traded -- if not before the season, at least before the trade deadline. Calderon is entering the final year of his contract.

Key returning players include shooting guard DeMar Derozan, who averaged 16 points as a starter last season, and Bargnani who put up 19 a game but missed over half the season with injuries. Toronto will need more next year from 2009 first-round pick Ed Davis, who only averaged 6 points and 6 rebounds in his second season with the Raptors.

There's no question Toronto is rebuilding and the development of their draft picks will be pivotal for the Raptors to get out from near the bottom of the eastern conference.

Quick Links

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Breaking down the Wizards' 2018 draft class


Wizards Tipoff podcast: Breaking down the Wizards' 2018 draft class

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller analyze the Wizards' two picks the night of the draft.

They went in-depth on first round pick Troy Brown, Jr. and why the Wizards took him when some big names were still on the board. They also broke down why the Wizards chose to pick a draft-and-stash guy in the second round.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

Quick Links

Ernie Grunfeld uses second round pick on draft-and-stash prospect Issuf Sanon

USA Today Sports

Ernie Grunfeld uses second round pick on draft-and-stash prospect Issuf Sanon

The Washington Wizards selected international prospect Issuf Sanon with the 44th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night.

Like Wizards first round pick Troy Brown, Sanon is just 18 years old and does not turn 19 until Oct. 30. President of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld said that Sanon is a draft-and-stash prospect and will play at least the following year for Olimpija, a professional team in Slovenia.

Here’s what you need to know about Sanon:

Height: 6-4

Weight: 172

2017-18 stats: 20.5 mpg, 6.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.2 bpg, 42.9 FG%, 28.3 3PT%, 50 FT%

*Sanon is a defensive-minded combo guard that is not expected to be ready for the next few years. However, he thrived defensively, allowing just 0.471 points per isolation possession, according to the NBA. That ranks in the 92nd percentile. In the past two seasons in Ukraine’s second division, Sanon averaged 4.6 steals per game.

*While playing in the 2017 U-18 Euros for the Ukrainian National team last summer, Sanon broke out, averaging 19.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 3.4 steals per game. 

*During the middle of the 2017-18 season, Sanon changed teams. He moved from Ukraine’s Dnipro to the more competitive Olimpija in Slovenia.

*The biggest area of improvement for Sanon is developing his offensive game further. While he is just 18 and very raw, Sanon’s numbers have dipped since his move to Olimpija, especially shooting wise. Sanon’s strength comes in transition and his 6-4 frame helps him when slashing to the rim.

*Though he will not play for the Wizards anytime soon, he will come to the United States and play on the Wizards’ Summer League team.