On Friday, the Raptors bring in four players who figure to still be on the board for the team in the second round: DePaul guard Drake Diener, Missouri forward Linas Kleiza, UNC forward Jawad Williams and Georgia HS guard Louis Williams.
Hereâ€™s Raptorshq.comâ€™s breakdown of Fridayâ€™s four prospects:
Who is he? 6-5 guard from DePaul.
Last Year: Averaged 14.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 31 games for the Blue Demons. Dropped 30 on Missouri in the first round of the NIT, going 7-11 on threes.
What Can He Do? Diener was a very effective college player. He is primarily a shooting guard, but he can handle the ball well enough to play some minutes at the point. He has good court vision and is smart with the ball. He is a fantastic shooter, hitting 46.2% of his threes last season. Heâ€™s not a player opponents wish to foul, either, as he hit 90.9% of his free throws last season.
The question is: Where does he play? Heâ€™s not nearly quick enough to play 2 and heâ€™s probably not good enough to play point. There are also questions about his ability to create his own shot.
The Bottom Line: I spoke with Kevin Oâ€™Neill last year about the possibility of Travis Diener playing in the league. Oâ€™Neill said that there wasnâ€™t a chance. It doesnâ€™t appear that cousin Drakeâ€™s chances are much better. He is a long shot to even be drafted, but he might surface in a few years as a long-range specialist.
Who is he? 6-8 forward from Missouri.
Last Year: Averaged 16.1 points and 7.6 rebounds in 33 games for the Tigers. Had a 31 point, 10 rebound game against Nebraska in January.
What Can He Do? Kleiza is a very smart player who can play both inside and outside. He has great hands and will catch anything that is thrown to him in the post. He displays a nice touch, both in the post and shooting the J. He displays a very good handle for someone his size and can play some point forward.
His downside is that he sometimes seems confused about who he is. He dominates some games down low, then tries to be Dirk Nowitzki, raining 3s. His jumper is too inconsistent to attempt to be Nowitzki. He also doesnâ€™t have a set NBA position, echoing the problems many 6-8 forwards have in this draft: not big enough to play 4 yet not quick enough to play 3. Another area of concern is his rebounding. He has double digit games regularly, yet there are games when he grabs only two or three rebounds. That is unacceptable for someone of his size.
The Bottom Line: At 41, Kleiza would be a player that the Raptors might consider, depending on who else is available. Workouts are going to be very important for Kleiza, as there are reportedly a few teams in the late first round who are interested.
Who is he? 6-8 senior forward from North Carolina.
Last Year: Averaged 13.1 points and 4.0 rebounds for the Tar Heels.
What Can He Do? Many fans are familiar with Williams due to his play in North Carolinaâ€™s championship run this spring. He is an athletic player with a solid shooting touch. He came up big for the Tar Heels in the national semifinal with 20 points against Michigan State. He loves to play on the wing and is very skilled for his size. At North Carolina, he was forced to play down low and displayed a very solid low post game.
Like many players in this draft, Williams is inconsistent. He does have a tendency to disappear at times. He needs to get stronger and needs to improve his rebounding. Four rebounds a game at your size, Jawad? Come on, dog. He projects to a wing player in the Association, but he will need to improve his handle.
The Bottom Line: Most mock drafts have Williams going anywhere from mid-to-late second round. While 41 would be a reach, Williams would be a fantastic get for the Raptors at 58.
Who is he? 6-0 high school guard from Georgia.
Last Year: Averaged 29 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists for South Gwinnett High in Georgia.
What Can He Do? Williamsâ€™ biggest assets are his athleticism and his ability to score. He has a decent jumper that is continually improving and he can score from anywhere. He has great hops and likes to surprise opposing bigs by throwing down. Many unsuspecting bigs see the six-foot Williams and donâ€™t expect to be posterized.
While his size and leaping ability may surprise some opponents, he is considered too small to play shooting guard in the pros. While being a â€œvolume shooterâ€ may work for Allen Iverson, you have to have Iversonâ€™s talent to pull it off. Williams isnâ€™t quite at that level. He has attempted to play point guard in many post-season all-star games and the results werenâ€™t pretty. He needs to get much stronger and would be best served by working on his body and refining his game for a few years in college before attempting to make the leap.
The Bottom Line: Some high schoolers see the success of Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady and Kevin Garnett and assume that they can make the leap because they destroyed their high school competition. These cats should also check out Taj McDavid, Lenny Cooke and Korleone Young to see the flipside.
Williams is a great talent and some team may take a chance on him in the late first round. Just donâ€™t expect it to be the Raptors.
Thursday: Blatche, Graham, Villanueva and Warrick
Wednesday: Garcia, Hodge, McCants and Miles
Tuesday: Battle, Homan and Taft
Friday: Gomes, Mendez, Roberts and Simien
Thursday: Doornekamp, Rothbart and Schenscher
- Jeff Chapman