The Toronto Raptors draft plan could take them to the international market, as this NBA Draft class is full of promising players from overseas, with several Eastern European prospects really standing out. After a dominant season in Serbia, Mega Soccerbet star Filip Petrusev might be one of the more intriguing targets for Toronto.
If Petrusev’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he looked like Mark Few’s next dominant big man at Gonzaga for a period of time, although he decided to leave the collegiate ranks early thanks to the temptation of a professional contract in the Adriatic League.
In a league that often sees young, unprepared prospects pulled from their ranks in the NBA Draft, Petrusev won league MVP, showing that he has improved upon some of his faults. That dream season came just in time, as he has started to generate some legit buzz as a second-round pick in the draft.
If Toronto wants to snatch him up, they need to act quickly, as his season abroad might end up inflating his stock to the point that one of the teams at the end of the first round ends up making him their selection.
Toronto Raptors draft: Filip Petrusev strengths.
Petrusev won MVP of his league by scoring 23.6 points per game and pulling down 7.6 boards per game, all while making 62% of his 2-point shots and 42% of his 3-point shots. Once a poor 3-point shooter in Spokane, the Belgrade native has made some huge strides in this department. When paired with a solid ability to find the open man, his offense will be his meal ticket.
Petrusev is one of the better low-post scorers in the class, possessing an array of moves and the prerequisite touch needed to consistently finish from midrange. With the ability to secure the boards on offense and defense to go along with his post acumen, Petrusev might have the best chance of all potential second-rounders at becoming an immediate impact scorer.
Toronto Raptors draft: Filip Petrusev weaknesses.
Petrusev’s main problem is a lack of jaw-dropping athletic ability, which could ultimately come back to bite him on both ends of the floor. Without tremendous strength, Petrusev missing the ability to blow by opposing big men regularly might make the transition to the NBA much tougher.
The defensive end will also be an adventure for Petrusev, as he lacks both the muscle to front opposing bigs and the short-area quickness to deal with some of the better athletes at the position. Simply an adequate shot-blocker rather than a standout one, he will need a lot of time before he’s NBA quality in this arena.
How would Filip Petrusev fit on the Toronto Raptors?
Petrusev won’t start right away, as he would do little to alleviate the issues with regards to their interior defense, but he could be the first center off of the bench. As much as we like Freddie Gillespie, and as valuable as he could be next year, Petrusev has a much higher ceiling on the offensive end.
Petrusev could use some seasoning in the G League to add strength and work in improving his defense, but there is an equally valid timeline in which he turns around and becomes one of Toronto’s top bench options as a rookie. The Raptors need to be proactive in adding Petrusev, as his stock means that he might not be available when Toronto’s picks come around.