In my nine years covering the NBA Draft via RaptorsHQ, this is the most thorough I've seen the Toronto Raptors be regarding the workout process.
Today's workout represents workout number 10 (!!) and the club still has one more to go on Monday.
Now, it's not every year that the team has three picks, but even in those years when the Dinos did have multiple selections, workouts usually topped out at five or six.
Not Masai's Raptors though. By my estimate, after today's session the team will have seen over half of DraftExpress.com's top 100 prospects once you take out the lottery types. Again, not too shabby.
Today's session is made up again of second-round hopefulls so let's get to it:
Aaron Craft - 6-2, G - Ohio State: A legend at Ohio State, Craft's career unfortunately came to a premature end thanks to Ohio State's upset loss to Dayton in the Round of 64. He averaged only about 10 points and 5 assists last season for the Buckeyes, but his defence continued to be stellar, wreaking havoc on opposing guards and allowing him to steal the ball nearly three times a game on average.
Verdict: Much like other college basketball cult figures ala Laetner and Bryce Drew, Craft was a fairly polarizing player during his NCAA career. You either loved Craft and his glove-like on-the-ball defence, or you despised his antics and jeered his play at every opportunity. While I was a Craft fan, it's hard to see him finding a role in the NBA as he's just not a good enough offensive player at this stage. That in itself is the opposite of what you hear regarding most prospects but Craft's shooting mechanics are a bit wonky, he struggles to create off the bounce, and shot only 30 per cent from long range, not so hot for a college point guard, let alone an NBA hopeful.
He was consistently one of the best defenders in the game, using his terrific smarts and lateral quickness to cause problems for opposing players, but I'm not sure that defence will translate nearly as well against the uber-athletes of the NBA. That's not to say he doesn't find a role at the next level, but I think he'll need to go the Summer League route and find the perfect situation in order to stick.
T.J. Bray - 6-5, G - Princeton: Bray averaged about 18 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists as the "do-it-all" guard for his Princeton club.
Verdict: I don't know a hell of a lot about Bray. I didn't see Princeton play much this past season, but Bray's name is often mentioned in conference play as one of the top offensive catalysts and he was a unanimous first-team All-Ivy League selection this past season. In terms of NBA potential, my guess is the Raptors are taking a look at him because of his all-around play, and long-range shooting ability. With decent size as a combo guard, Bray was a very efficient offensive player posting a true-shooting percentage of 67%, an amazing mark. He may not hear his name called on draft night, but he's another example of Toronto wading through the bushes to make sure they don't miss anyone who not only may warrant a draft selection, but a future roster spot, even via Summer League.
Roscoe Smith - 6-8, F - UNLV: The UCONN transfer averaged 11 points and 11 rebounds in his one season with the Running Rebels. The Junior shot 53 per cent from the field, and blocked nearly a shot per game.
Verdict: A Quincy Acy type, Smith is an energy guy who can rebound the basketball and defend his position thanks to excellent length, quickness and athletic ability. He's not the coiled spring that Acy is though and his offensive game may be even more raw so it's hard to imagine his name being called on draft night. But he's certainly a Summer League project option, and he should make today's workout a very enjoyable experience for the Raptors' brass.
Eric Moreland - 6-10, F - Oregon State: Moreland averaged close to a double-double last season for the Beavers with 9 points and 10 rebounds. He struggled from the free-throw line hitting only 56 per cent of his shots, but did block two shots per contest. Of note, Moreland's agent Happy Walters, also represents current Raptors' guard Dwight Buycks, and former Masai Ujiri Denver guard, Ty Lawson.
Verdict: Moreland was supposed to dominate last season after a terrific sophomore campaign which saw him finish second in the Pac-12 in blocked shots, rebounding, and double-doubles. However that did not occur and Moreland was suspended for OSU's entire nonconference slate for team rule violations. He never really found his groove and to be honest, I kind of forgot about him as a prospect until seeing his name on today's workout schedule.
He's a bit of a Patrick O'Bryant in terms of intriguing size and wingspan, but not much of a frame and raw fundamentals. He did impress at the Clippers pre-draft group mini-combine from what I recall, and he's the sort of player I could see Toronto taking a flyer on at 59, or bringing into their Summer League fold. So again, kudos to the Raptors for leaving no stone unturned here.
Isaiah Austin - 7-0, C - Baylor: Austin averaged about 11 points and 6 rebounds as well as 3.2 blocks per game for the Bears last season.
Verdict: Speaking of project big man we come to Mr. Austin. A top five high school prospect and at one time lottery prospect, Austin never dominated inside the way many expected. Some of this can perhaps be explained by the news that Austin is completely blind in one eye. Whether that prevents him from realizing his NBA dream remains to be seen, but regardless, we're talking about a very long player with solid shot-blocking skills, something that's always of interest at the next level. Austin's offensive game is still extremely raw, and he needs to get a lot stronger, but like Moreland, he may be a player worth taking a flyer on late in the draft.
Here is Austin's Draftexpress.com prospect breakdown video:
Daniel Miller - 7-0, C - Georgia Tech: The fourth-leading shot blocker in Yellow Jacket history, Miller averaged about 11 points, 8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks a game last year. He's a client of super agent Bill Duffy, also the agent for one Amir Johnson.
Verdict: Miller is another very interesting big man. He actually began his college career at Georgia Tech after reneging on his letter of intent to play for rival Georgia, and joined Derrick Favors as part of what appeared to be a dominant recruiting class. Things never quite transpired that way but Miller did put up solid numbers over four seasons with the Yellow Jackets. He's got great size for the NBA, and is not your stereotypical "big, white, stiff." He's quite mobile and has good length, hence his ability to be a major defensive factor around the rim.
However his growth as a prospect sort of stalled in his final seasons and he's a fairly poor rebounder for someone with his physical tools. Having watched a fair amount of ACC action over the years, Miller never really took over games the way I expected, especially considering the dearth of big men with his fluidity. He's another good workout option for Toronto though and should provide some interesting challenges for both Austin and Moreland.
Here's a highlight real via Youtube from his time at G-Tech: