Now things are getting interesting.
The Toronto Raptors bring in a bevy of swingmen types for today's workout including a few names that most mock drafts are projecting to be around when Toronto makes its first-round selection.
Let's get to it...
Kyle Anderson - 6-8, G - UCLA: The "Jack-of-All-Trades" point guard for UCLA, Anderson averaged about 15 points, seven assists and nine rebounds last season for the Bruins. He shot the ball well from the floor too hitting on 48 per cent of his field goal attempts, and an even more impressive 48 per cent of those from long-range.
Verdict: My compatriot Harsh did a very nice job breaking down Anderson earlier in our pre-draft coverage so I won't re-invent the wheel here. I like Anderson, but I'd prefer the Raptors took a shot at him in the second-round if he's available as I'm just not sure who he's going to guard at the next level. That being said, his college game reminded me a lot of Greivis Vasquez ala Maryland so if that's the case, grabbing him at 20 would end up being a steal.
Here again is his DraftExpress scouting video:
DeAndre Kane - 6-4, G - Iowa State: After four under-the-radar seasons at Marshall, Kane joined Iowa State as a graduate transfer. It was a good move as last season he burst onto the national scene, helping lead his Cyclones deep into the NCAA tourney before losing to eventual Champ, UCONN. Kane averaged about 17 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists last season, and hit nearly 40 per cent of his long-range attempts.
Verdict: "Big Daddy" Kane was one of my favourite players in all of college ball last season. His open court play was just awesome to watch, and he routinely took it to bigger opponents thanks to his strength and sheer desire to win. He and Melvin Ejim (who worked out for the Raps yesterday) were a tough match-up for opponents due to their ability to play inside and out, Kane regularly posting up smaller guards.
The problem is that at the next level, many of those attributes that made him so successful in college, may get lost. He'll still be great in the open court, but he'll be undersized on most nights as a shooting guard, and he's not exactly a point guard. He struggled with decision-making at times, and doesn't have elite athleticism nor a top-notch handle in order to break players down off the bounce in half-court settings. He's also not a lights out shooter and hit only 64 per cent of his free-throw attempts last year.
In many ways he reminds me of former UCONN standout and Canadian prospect Denham Brown. Brown was a similarly skilled combo-guard who was good in a number of areas, and could dominate college games as a result, but just didn't have a niche at the next level. I worry that's the case with Kane however Kane is a better rebounder than Brown and more of a floor general, so perhaps he can continue to hone his playmaking skills and find a spot in the L.
K.J. McDaniels - 6-6, G/F - Clemson: One of the top overall athletes in this draft class, McDaniels did it all for Clemson last season. He averaged 17 points and 7 rebounds and per 40 minutes, averaged 1.4 steals and 3.3 blocks. Not bad for a small forward. McDaniels' quickness and hops were a nice boost in this regard, but his length is what really makes him intriguing. He posted a nearly 7 foot wingspan at the recent NBA combine, ridiculous for a 6-6 player, and similar to NBAers like Gerald Green and Josh Childress. Now the key is for McDaniels to show that he can also play some basketball.
Verdict: Like Anderson, McDaniels is a player we've already touched on in our prospect previews so I won't go into depth on him once more. I will say though that he's been the subject of some negative reviews during this draft process, the latest coming from ESPN.com's Chad Ford:
McDaniels still is a sleeper in the eyes of many scouts, but he's been unable to generate any buzz early in the workout process -- including a fairly uninspired workout in front of a host of NBA folks in Southern California a little over a week ago. McDaniels is a great athlete, but teams want to see him shoot the ball better.
I'm still a fan, but when the next version of our Big Board is released later this week, I don't expect to see him occupying a top three spot.
Here again is his DraftExpress scouting video:
Jordan McRae - 6-6, G/F - Tennessee: McRae capped off a very nice final season at Tennessee by pushing his surprising Vols all the way to the Sweet 16. Even in the loss, McRae did everything in his power to keep his team alive, and you may recall his scoring flurry towards the end of TENN's matchup versus the Michigan Wolverines.
For the season he averaged just under 19 points and 4 rebounds, and shot 43 per cent from the field.
Verdict: Like McDaniels, McRae possesses some terrific length for his size and therefore today's workout between these two should be very fun to watch. McRae is not the overall athlete that McDaniels is however, but he's a focused defender and a better shooter off the bounce.
In fact McRae is one of my favourite sleepers in this draft. I wouldn't consider him at 20, but in the second round, I think he could be a nice find. He needs to get stronger and hone his shot, but he's one of those players who just makes a difference when he's on the court. On a number of occasions last season, when the Vols needed to get a basket, McRae would deliver. When they needed a stop? McRae would come up with the ball. To me he's one of those players who don't necessarily wow you with shooting form or athletic ability, but they just play the game and make an impact.
Here's his preseason scouting video via DraftExpress:
DeAndre Daniels - 6-9, F - UCONN: Daniels averaged about 13 points, 6 rebounds and over a block a game last season for the Huskies. He was decent from the field (48 per cent shooter) but his strength was from long-range where he knocked in 42 per cent of his shots. Daniels wasn't even on draft radars earlier this season, but a very nice run during the NCAA tourney (culminating in a UCONN title) likely caused him to declare.
Verdict: Insert statement from above regarding Anderson and McDaniels. We've talked Daniels before so won't dwell on it and again, and here again is his DraftExpress scouting video:
C.J. Fair - 6-8, F - Syracuse: Fair averaged about 17 points and 4 rebounds last season for the Orange. He was decent from the field (43 per cent shooter) but struggled from long-range hitting under 27 per cent of his shots, and his club was a bit of a disappointment after a hot start to their NCAA campaign.
Verdict: Fair continues a bit of an interesting trend in this Raptors' workout session: players who don't seem to be a lock for a position at the next level. Like Daniels, Fair had great size in the NCAA but the big question is if he can become an effective wing option at the next level. His shooting has come a ways since his early days at 'Cuse, but can he score at the next level? For a player who spent a lot of time on the blocks for Syracuse, he didn't show much low-post game, and rather an assortment of turn-arounds and jump shots. He was tremendously effective with those moves, at times he was virtually unstoppable as an offensive weapon, but I wonder if he'll be able to replicate said college success at the next level.
In addition, he doesn't have very good length or defensive intangibles so defending at the next level is a major question mark, especially considering his club's exclusive use of zone coverages. Fair was a stud for the Orangemen, but I think he'll likely have to work his way into the NBA via the D-League or some other stop first.