In our continued efforts to provide Raptors fans with maximum team coverage, we here at Raptorshq present Media Watch; our regular survey of the media examining all articles, excerpts and other media information relating to the team.
For June 17, 2005
From the top, of this weekâ€™s media watch, a couple points of interest:
First of all, the lack of Raptors pre-draft coverage from the Toronto print media is disheartening. While the Raptors continue to evaluate potential talent for this yearâ€™s draft, Torontoâ€™s local media has shown little interest in the team as it enters perhaps its most critical off-season to date. This is quite disheartening for us here at Raptorshq as Canadaâ€™s lone NBA Franchise needs all the media support it can get. Not just in the negative form typically thrown at it, but a genuine interest in the franchiseâ€™s development.
Secondly, we welcome www.draftexpress.com to our regular media watch. Draftexpress.com is the end result of legal action filed against its creator Jonathan Givonyâ€™s prior site draftcity.com. Draftcity.com surfers will therefore be pleased to know that draftexpress.com has taken on the exact same format and agenda as its precursor.
On to the links:
DRAFT EXPRESS â€" WORD ON THE STREET â€" By Jonathan Givony
In his latest draft update titled â€œMental Masturbationâ€, Givony discusses several rumours and potential smokescreens being bandied about the league. Of note to the Raptors is the interesting situation developing in Los Angeles with Phil Jacksonâ€™s return. There are rumors around the league that Kobe now may be the one on the hot seat in La La Land and that the Lakers are looking to draft Gerald Green as a potential Kobe replacement or at least as his running mate. This would mean attempting to leapfrog the Raptors to potentially the 3rd spot where Portland now is scheduled to pick. The Raptors have had their eye on Green but, even without a move by the Lakers, it now appears doubtful heâ€™ll last until the Raptors selection. The article also mentions the recurring possibility of the Raptors trading up however to obtain Green, Chris Paul, or any of the other potential top picks.
Also from the article, it looks like the Raptors have interest in over-seas prospect Ersan Ilyasova. In what would be an intriguing workout, the Raptors have him scheduled to workout today in Buffalo with raptorshq favourite Roko Leni-Ukic.
CHICAGO PRE-DRAFT CAMP SUMMARY
After watching a good deal of the games at this yearâ€™s Chicago Pre-Draft camp a few players stood out in terms of perhaps being worth a second round pick by the Raptors. This yearâ€™s draft is unusual in the sense that there is a lot of parity between the late first-round and mid second round and therefore the pre-draft camp was very important for some of these players in attempts to â€œbreak away from the pack.â€
- Alan Anderson â€" As a Duke fan, I got to see Andersonâ€™s versatility and defensive abilities up close in this yearâ€™s road to the Final Four. Anderson was the top scorer of this yearâ€™s pre-draft camp and his all around abilities would be an asset to the Raptors.
- Sean Banks â€" Banks was perhaps the most talented player at this yearâ€™s camp. Heâ€™s explosive, has decent size and is a great scorer. While questions about his maturity and character abound, the Raptors could definitely use someone with his scoring ability.
- Eddie Basden â€" While Basden doesnâ€™t wow you in any one area, he is a solid all around player with lock-down defensive abilities which would really come in handy off the bench for the Raptors.
- Will Bynum â€" Bynum had a great camp and his athletic abilities are off the charts. He showed his ability to play the point at camp, something which may lead to even a late first round selection now.
- Travis Diener â€" So much for his lack of point guard skillsâ€¦Diener ran the offenses at the camp to perfection and his shooting was dead on as usual. A sleeper pick, the Raps might look at Diener if they havenâ€™t selected a PG in the first round.
- John Gilchrist â€" Gilchrist was seen cheering his team on and was definitely attempting to change his bad rep at this yearâ€™s camp. His on court play was solid as usual and he just torched Carl Krauser in their game 1 matchup. Gilchrist is an interesting player who, much like Sean Banks, has first round talent but will need to continue to show his improved maturity in order to be drafted in that round.
- Luther Head â€" Head had a great camp and, much like Bynum, may have pushed his way into the bottom of the first round. His handle was excellent, he shot the lights out in Game 2 and showed that he has the speed and strength to defend the PG position. Head thus represents another option for the Raptors at point should he fall into the second round of the draft.
- David Lee â€" Perhaps the most impressive player in the camp in my opinion. No reason why Lee couldnâ€™t have been on a Nick Collison level if he too had played with a Kirk Hinrich type PG in college instead of Anthony Roberson. The Raptors could always use another skilled post player who doesnâ€™t shy away from contact and while heâ€™ll probably be gone by the time the second round rolls around, heâ€™d be a steal if the Raps could grab him with their first second round pick.
- Ronny Turiaf â€" Turiaf is a warrior. Besides Eric Williams and the aforementioned Lee, Turiaf was the most dominant post player in the camp. Turiaf reminded me of another braided slightly undersized post player in Washingtonâ€™s Etan Thomas. While he dropped a few too many catchable passes, Turiaf was quite impressive none-the less.
- Robert Whaley â€" This is quite the story. Whaley, a 6-8 power forward, has bounced around the NCAA. He was a top high school recruit who had his scholarship to the University of Missouri rescinded due to his troubles with the law. He starred for two years at Barton Community College, before transferring to Cincinnati. After a year with the Bearcats, he ended up leading Walsh University to itâ€™s first ever NAIA Division II National Championship.
Whaley represents an interesting case as he was supposed to be Cincinnati coach Bob Hugginsâ€™ missing piece to a Final Four team in 2004, only to fall out of Hugginsâ€™ favour when he didnâ€™t return after injury quick enough. As a result, Whaley transferred to Hugginsâ€™ former school, Walsh University and dominated Division II play. He was named NAIA tournament MVP and finished his season averaging nearly 20 points and 8 rebounds a game.
Whaley really stood out in Chicago. He dominated his man on the blocks, ran the floor with ease, handled the ball with guard-type skills and even hit a few NBA 3-pointers. Watching him I couldnâ€™t help but think he would make a great selection for the Raptors with the 2nd of their 2 second round picks, despite the character issues. At the very least, his camp performance should warrant a workout for the Raptors.
- Eric Williams â€" While it appears pretty certain now that Williams will return to Wake Forest next season, he played well enough at this yearâ€™s camp to assure himself of a second round spot and perhaps push into the late first round. Williams is a beast in the paint, and while slightly undersized has great length and athleticism. It wouldnâ€™t even be a stretch to say that another solid season at Wake would make him a lock for the lottery in next yearâ€™s draft.