By now you are most certainly inundated with NBA Draft news. It's OK to feel overwhelmed -- there's a lot of it. Between Chad Ford and Draft Express and Sam Vecenie (who I worry about sometimes) and an ocean of mock drafts, you can get any and all kinds of facts about the prospects hoping to get picked this year. These players want to make it to the NBA, you want to know which of them your team will get, and the experts are doing what they can to figure it out.
This ranking has nothing to do with all of that.
The Raptors hold the ninth pick in the Draft. This is right around where things start to get hazy in the who's-going-where of the early forecasts for this year. We all have our favourites at the ninth spot, we've all ready the various draft and scouting reports to help inform our decisions. But now, it's time to get personal.
Here are my top five players the Raptors should take with the ninth pick based on the two criteria I like to use: their name and a gut feeling surrounding their typical mock draft placement. This is far from scientific, but then again, who really knows the answer?
(A note here: I'm working under the assumption that there will be eight players off the board by the time the Raptors pick. So if you don't see, like, Jamal Murray on this list -- an obvious favourite -- it's because he will clearly be gone by the time Toronto steps up for their pick.)
5) Jakob Poeltl
Name Game: Easily one of the worst names in the draft. Answer me this: Would you be excited to chant the word "Poeltl"?
Feeling: Honestly, what's the success rate on big white dudes in the NBA? I'm not looking the stats up on this but I feel like it's pretty low. The Raptors already hit on one big white dude (Jonas Valanciunas) so to take another one right now feels risky. Why tempt the mathematical fates guys?
4) Timothe Luwawu
Name Game: Strong. Luwawu offers a ton of tremendous upside potential here. I mean, Lu-WOW-u is sitting right there.
Feeling: Did you know there's a pro team in Europe called Mega Leks? Now you do. Luwawu plays for said team and he's projected to be a solid two-way player and...
OK, I'll admit it, there is no chance the Raptors take this guy. He's another swing man and the Raptors don't need another one at this time. I just wanted to use that Lu-WOW-u line up there. Let's move on.
3) Skal Labissiere
Name Game: Very torn with this one. Skal is a striking name, but Labissiere does not roll off the tongue in directions you'd like.
Feeling: It's got to be tough coming from a program as lauded as Kentucky's only to hear you may be a huge bust when you get to the NBA. Poor Skal. There just seems to be a lot of pressure on this kid and you know what, I'm not happy about it. Let's give him a break... for a second.
I do think he's going to be a bust. Sorry, Skal.
2) Deyonta Davis
Name Game: Punchy and alliterative, even though "Davis" as an NBA name has been done to death.
Feeling: On the one hand, Davis has an NBA-ready body (6'10", 7'2" wingspan, 240 lbs) that is ideal for defending the rim and flying around the court. On the other hand, it certainly sounds like he doesn't know how to use it yet. That said, perhaps the sadness over losing Bismack Biyombo will drive the Raptors to give Davis the chance. The heart wants what it wants after all.
1) Domantas Sabonis
Name Game: Domantas is the son of legendary baller Arvydas Sabonis. And his name can be used to make "Saboner" jokes. This is a classy website.
Feeling: Look, I'm not going to sugar coat this: Arvydas Sabonis is one of my favourite basketball players of all time. I was a Trail Blazers fan in high school (don't talk to me about the years 2000-2002 thanks) and I don't know if it was Sabonis' gigantic head, or his slow-as-hell foot speed, or just his way with the ball -- he was awesome to watch. Arvydas only played seven years in the NBA and his best years were spent behind the Iron Curtain. But what we can see of his young days is inspiring. He was way, way ahead of his time.
So, like, if his son Domantas is half the player his dad was, that would be pretty good right? Here's hoping the Raps take Sabonis the younger and we get some Arvydas sightings in Toronto. This is the dream. And this is where we end these rankings.