In the past two days the Raptors have brought in a number of other players for workouts. We'll give you the breakdowns below but first some front office news.
Bryan Colangelo has not extended assistant coach Gene Keady's contract for next season and therefore the former Purdue coach will be looking to latch on perhaps with another club for the 2006-07 season. As well, expect further shakeups in the Raptors' scouting departments as Colangelo looks to make changes.
Colangelo also spoke to the media yesterday about the upcoming draft, the workouts currently underway and the Mike James situation. Colangelo is looking to add some inside presence, grit and toughness to the club going into next season. As for Mike James, it appears that the Raptors will be looking for the best option available be it re-signing the former Rocket, completing a sign-and-trade deal, or letting James walk to use his potential salary in other areas.
And now, the Wednesday workout crop:
Who is he? 6-1 Senior point guard from Iona.
Last Year: Averaged 25.2 points, 2.5 assists, 3.3 rebounds and .7 steals per game for the Gaels. Second Team All-MAAC and Second Team All-Metropolitan selection after finishing first on the team and third in the conference in scoring, at 19.3 per game. Father, Steve Burtt Sr. played for parts of four seasons in the NBA.
What Can He Do? Burtt has been one of Division I's better scoring guards since he came into the league. While his first step is decent, most of his scoring is due to his great shooting touch. Last year Burtt shot 45 per cent from the field, 41 per cent from beyond the arc and 82 per cent from the free throw line. While not an assist machine, he's averaged more rebounds than assists in each season that he's been with Iona, he does have good leadership instincts on the court.
The Bottom Line: Burtt is not expected to be drafted at all but is another player who's scoring touch may get him second looks or camp invites. He's got decent size for the point guard position and if he can show that he knows how to run a club while still providing scoring, he may catch on with a team.
Who is he? 6-2 Senior point guard from Michigan.
Last Year: Averaged 17.6 points, 5.3 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game.
What Can He Do? More athletic than would appear at first glance Horton was one of the nation's top prospects after an amazing freshman season. His play however tailed off after that before he rebounded last year with a solid senior season. The question however is can he run a team? Horton doesn't have tremendous speed or explosiveness so playing the two in the NBA with his size is probably out of the question. The other question has been about his past. Horton has had legal issues in college and for someone who will be fighting to get into even the second round of the draft, this may torpedo his stock in the eyes of many GM's.
The Bottom Line: Horton may appear to have a leg up on the competition due to his closeness with current Raptor Chris Bosh but for him to be in a Raptors uniform next season he'll have to show a growth both on the court in terms of his point guard play and off in terms of maturity. His Michigan teams generally underacheived and at this point it simply doesn't look like Horton has the abilities to be a floor general in the NBA. However his skill set has been compared to Mo Williams by various scouts and therefore it's possible that Watson simply needs a few years of seasoning and takes the round-about way to find a place in the league.
Who is he? 6-10 Senior Center from Denver.
Last Year: Averaged 19.9 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.8 blocks for the Pioneers. Named Sun-Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year and voted to All-SBC First Team.
What Can He Do? With soft hands, decent quickness for his size and good shot-blocking instincts, Nicholson was a force for Denver. Nicholson uses his size and aggressiveness to get to the basket and possesses a surprisingly effective face-up game. Unfortunately his conditioning has been the main issue that has dogged him throughout his career in scouts' eyes, as he simply seems to fatigue too easily as the game goes on. In addition, some wonder if his numbers appear to be a bit inflated due to the competition he faced in a mid-major conference like the Sun-Belt.
The Bottom Line: As is the case with many big men possessing his size and shot-blocking abilities, Nicholson is an intriguing prospect. Lately he's been working hard on his conditioning and if he measures at a legit 6-10 or taller, he will probably get a long, hard look from many teams as a center option.
Workout Summary: Wednesday's group was a mix due to changes in workout scheduling. In fact, Jeff Daisley, a 7-2 Senior center from Mercyhurst College (Central Atlantic Collegiate Conferene) also attended, perhaps as a last-minute addition to go up against the 6-10 Nicholson. Both Watson and Burtt just don't seem to fit with what Bryan Colangelo is trying to do with this club and I'd be very surprised to see either at the Raptors' camp next fall. From a Raptors fans' perspective it bodes to keep an eye on the aforementioned Nicholson. This is the type of player whose team workouts could raise his stock enough to be a late second round pick. His upside has been compared to that of Erick Dampier and if he could eventually be that sort of inside presence for the Raptors, minus the bloated contract, he would definitely be worth a 56th pick. Unfortunately, Nicholson has also drawn comparisons to none other than Rafael Araujo.