After two sets of workouts last week, the Raptors have scheduled a full slate of workouts for this week, beginning on Tuesday with Buffalo PG Turner Battle, Iowa State PF Jared Homan and Pittsburgh PF Chris Taft.
Hereâ€™s Raptorshq.comâ€™s breakdown of Tuesdayâ€™s prospects:
Who is he? 6-3 point guard from the University of Buffalo.
Last Year: Averaged 15.5 points and 4.4 assists in 33 games with Buffalo. Mid-American Conference Player of the Year. Honorable mention All-American.
What Can He Do? Battle was an excellent collegiate point guard. He is a leader, which is something you want at the point. He has decent size for a point guard and is an excellent defender. He can get to the hoop and is a solid distributor.
However, he probably isnâ€™t a good enough outside scoring threat to make an impact in the Association. He is a streaky shooter. He struggles at times from the charity stripe, shooting only 66.5% last season.
The Bottom Line: Battle is working out for a number of NBA teams who are, no doubt, intrigued about his size and collegiate credentials. However, he is a long shot to make the NBA this season, if at all. Heâ€™ll probably do quite well for himself in Europe, though.
Who is he? 6-10, 250 pound senior forward from Iowa State.
Last Year: Averaged 13.6 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 31 games for the Cyclones. Got national attention with a 19 point, 20 rebound performance against North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
What Can He Do? Homan is a solid all-around player. He doesnâ€™t do anything exceptionally, but doesnâ€™t hurt you anywhere. He is a very good shot blocker, averaging over two blocks a game with Iowa State last season. He rebounds well, due to good positioning and hustle. He will never be a go-to guy on offense, but displays a nice little jumper and gets a lot of garbage baskets due to hard work.
He defends well and is very tough. He wonâ€™t back down from anyone, as he proved against North Carolinaâ€™s Sean May in the tournament. He can be inconsistent at times, following up excellent performances with non-descript ones. Although he has improved, he is still prone to foul trouble.
The Bottom Line: Homan can play and his stock is somewhat underrated having been stuck in Ames, Iowa for the past four years. He is not going to be an all-star, but he looks like he could forge out a decent NBA career through his hard work, defense and rebounding. Homan is a player who would look really good in a Raptors uniform if available at 58.
Who is he? 6-10, 260 pound sophomore forward from Pittsburgh.
Last Year: Averaged 13.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 29 games with the Panthers. Had 25 points and 15 rebounds in a January win over Providence.
What Can He Do? After his freshman season, some were comparing Taft to a young Kevin Garnett. Unfortunately, it appears that Taft let some of that talk get to his head. He struggled with consistency throughout the season and that seems to have carried over into his early NBA workouts.
First, the good. Taft is a big man with skill. Those players are not easy to find. He has a solid low-post game, rebounds well and is a good shot-blocker. He is long and athletic and oozes potential. He is a patient player and displays a consistent short jumper
However, he does have a tendency to disappear at times. While some compare him to Garnett (South Carolina coach Dave Odom compared him to Tim Duncan), those comparisons are off-base until Taft matches their work ethic. He also needs to be more assertive in the post and improve his free throw shooting (58.6% last season).
The Bottom Line: Taft appears to be the wild card of this draft. He has the potential to be a top ten pick, but could fall to the mid-late first round if his workouts continue to be subpar. However, word from around the league indicates that he wonâ€™t slip out of the lottery, based on his potential. While drafting Taft at 7 might be a bit of a reach, you have to think that the Raptors would take a very long look at him if he were still available at 16, considering their lack of big men.
Links: The Toronto Sun gives a brief rundown of this week's scheduled workouts.
- Jeff Chapman