2020 NBA Draft Profiles: Toronto Raptors

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The NBA Draft is coming up on October 16, which means The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for each NBA team. Each day, a new team will be analyzed for their past season, their team needs and projected targets. Today, the Toronto Raptors will be evaluated.

Summary

The Toronto Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard before the start of the 2019 season, which only paid off with the team’s very first NBA Championship. To further the impressiveness of the season, they won that NBA Finals over the Golden State Warriors, who were in the finals for the fifth year in a row.

This year, however, the Raptors lost Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency, causing speculation as to whether they would even return to the playoffs, let alone be a contender again. Toronto proved those doubts false, securing the second seed in the Eastern Conference, although they lost in the Conference Semifinals in seven games to the Boston Celtics.

The core of Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol led the team well and Nick Nurse orchestrated what may have been the league’s best defense. It is clear they may need one or two more pieces to get back to the finals. Luckily, they have two 2020 draft picks to get it done.

Picks

The Toronto Raptors have two picks in the 2020 NBA Draft

First Round: Pick No. 29

Second Round: Pick No. 59

Team Needs

Points in paint- Despite their second seeding and defense-to-offense prowess, the Raptors still only ranked 21st in points in the paint. Considering this is a very deep big man draft, this could be the time for Toronto to snap up a scoring center or forward to rise up those ranks.

Offensive Rebounds- The Raptors finished 12th in total rebounds per game, but 24th in offensive rebounds per game. Their work and effort on the offensive glass is clearly lacking and needs to be cleaned up, which could be as simple as patching two holes at once with one pick (the above team need included).

Projected Targets

Round 1, Pick No. 29: Paul Reed, PF (DePaul)
2020 NBA Draft Charlotte Hornets
Reed is a rebounder who can turn the Raptors’ game around right away. (Photo courtesy of DePaul Athletics)

This pick would be seen as a reach by most, but Paul Reed would fit the Raptors’ system immediately. With his defensive prowess and his knack for rebounding, he would not only be a great bench player, he could make a play for Toronto’s official sixth man if his skills truly do translate to the NBA.

Reed averaged up a double-double last season, putting up 15.1 points and 10.7 rebounds. But his real value is in his defensive game. He even put up 2.6 blocks per game last year at only 6-foot-9.

A hugely athletic forward who can play small ball center, Reed is a great pick, although would be a bit over-drafted at 29. Considering he will not be available at 59, though, why not take the best fit?

Round 2, Pick No. 59: Elijah Hughes, SF (Syracuse)

With the second-to-last pick in the entire draft, a team can really only take the best available at a position they want to fill. In that case, small forward Elijah Hughes may be the player to select with this pick.

Hughes is a wing who scored at a huge clip at Syracuse. He averaged 19 points per game while still getting the ball to others a fair amount, dishing out almost 3.5 assists. The only real problem with his game is a strangely streaky three-point shooting game. A wing in today’s NBA has to be able to catch and shoot from behind the arc.

Either way, his hustle and athleticism would only flourish on a hard-nosed team like the Toronto Raptors. A fine pick, if they do want to stay at number 59.

Featured image courtesy of Toronto Raptors

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