With the NBA Draft set for next Thursday the 23rd, we've got a plethora of mock drafts to study. Setting aside the odd controversy or two, Chad Ford of ESPN still has a lot of clout in this regard. His latest mock draft went up yesterday. It's Ford's annual take on what he would do if he were each team's general manager. With the Raptors' ninth and 27th picks, Ford had this to say:
The Raptors have a pretty large hole at the power forward position and Ellenson and Diallo do a good job of filling it. Ellenson is an elite offensive player who can stretch the floor and score in the midrange game. Diallo is an elite defensive player who rebounds, blocks shots and plays with a terrific motor. He's a steal at No. 27.
With the ninth pick, Ford has the Raptors taking Marquette freshman Henry Ellenson. Draft Express has him ranked at 13 on their top 100 prospects, and getting picked tenth in the draft. Excuse me if this already sounds like a reach. Look, Ellenson is a big dude (seven feet tall, 242 pounds) and he can allegedly shoot (though he put up 29 percent on his 3s his first year), but I'm not ready to take a big man because he can shoot jumpers. Tyler Hansbrough could shoot jumpers too, you know what I mean?
Diallo at 27 seems like a much more intriguing pick. Draft Express pegs the Kansas freshman as the 25th best prospect in the draft, going as high as the 19th pick. This sounds to me like a steal, given where the Raptors are in the late stages of the draft. In addition, some of the stuff written about Diallo reads a lot like the soon-to-be-departed Bismack Biyombo. And I don't just say that because they both have awesome sounding names and were born in Africa. Diallo's described as having elite mobility, great rim running ability and -- gasp -- good hands. He's projected to be a solid defensive player at least. These sound like the kinds of things the Raps could use in a backup big man.
What do you guys think? Is Chad Ford on to something?