The 2016 NBA Draft is less than 24 hours old. This is something that should be kept in mind when considering the long term futures of two young men -- Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam -- and Raptors roster of basketball players that is sure to change in the short and long term.
That said: let's break out some player grades for the two newest Raptors and make some rash judgements.
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: NBA history is fraught with horror stories related to the drafting of big-ass white men. I know this is a generalization, but consider Raptors franchise history. Alek Radojevic. Michael Bradley. Uros Slokar. Andrea Bargnani. Rafael Araujo (I'm stretching the definition of "white" here, but you get my point). The Raptors have hit on exactly one big white dude, Jonas Valanciunas, who is currently thriving on the roster in the same position as the Raptors latest pick, Jakob Poeltl.
Dwane Casey says that Poeltl can play power forward, but there's nothing about his size (even acknowledging his alleged quickness and agility) that says he's a fit at the 4 in the modern NBA. Every consideration after that -- Poeltl's back to the basket game, his face up game, his shooting ability, his rebounding skills, his defensive ability, everything -- is ultimately sacrificed on the altar of this fact. Therefore, Poeltl will likely top up as a backup centre for the Raptors. First, because it's doubtful he'll ever be better than Jonas (and it's doubtful the Raps are planing on moving JV). Second, because it seems unlikely he could play with Jonas. And third (and perhaps most importantly), Poeltl is a big-ass white dude. Those who do not learn from history...
As many are saying, Poeltl at least seems like high floor type of player. He'll never be an All-Star, but it feels likely that a long career in the NBA is possible. Time will tell if that was the best the Raptors could have hoped for with the ninth pick in this draft.
Now we get to the big swing pick. Pascal Siakam was on nobody's radar at number 27. Draft Express had him going in the second round at the 43rd pick. He was ranked 52nd in their Top 100 prospects. Much like the Bruno Caboclo pick from two years ago, this is Masai Ujiri going for it in a big way. The question is: What is the it for which he was going?
From reading his draft profile and looking at the scant footage that exists, it sounds like Siakam has some things working in his favour. He's tall, has a big wingspan, put on 40 pounds over his two year collegiate career, and has a motor that apparently won't quit. Siakam came to basketball late and grew up playing soccer, which usually suggests that footwork won't be a problem. And before you start jumping in with the Bismack Biyombo comparisons (I know they're on the tip of your tongue), watch the tape again. Siakam looks to have a much better handle than Biz ever showed; and while Pascal won't be lighting it up from outside any time soon, his jumper doesn't look like something out of a modern art exhibit. Much like the Poeltl pick though, the question becomes one of fit. Without much of a shooting ability, is Siakam a small ball centre or a big power forward? Can you pair him with Poeltl? Or, for that matter, Lucas Nogueira? Questions abound.
I actually don't mind this pick as much as the safety of the Poeltl selection. I know many thought the Raptors should have just grabbed Skal Labissiere here and been done with it, but I do like Siakam's combo of size, speed and motor. A jump shot can be taught, is my point.
In any case, now you've read my rambling. How do you grade the Raptors' 2016 NBA Draft picks?