The Toronto Raptors draft is coming ever closer after a consistent winner like Toronto was knocked out of the postseason picture by a very unlucky season. With their best draft pick in years, the Raptors might need to look overseas to find their next star, as Australia’s Josh Giddey continues to impress.
Giddey, a 6-8 18-year-old that has assumed a very important role with the Adelaide 36ers. With the height of a forward and passing skills of a diminutive guard, Giddey could easily end up as the top international prospect in this draft if he is able to beat out Turkish center Alperen Sengun and Real Madrid forward Usman Garuba.
The Raptors will have a very unsettled backcourt picture after this season, as Kyle Lowry might end up getting booted out of town in favor of some younger options. Giddey could be a perfect replacement given how he has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he could play in the states.
With NBA scouts in attendance, including Toronto Raptors Director of Global Scouting Patrick Engelbrecht, Giddey recorded 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists, giving him a third triple-double in his last four games. Giddey is showing off all of the traits that could entice the Raptors to pull the trigger and select him.
Could the Toronto Raptors draft Josh Giddey?
Giddey’s issues stem from the fact that he isn’t necessarily the greatest physical specimen. With a 6-7 wingspan at 6-8 and the lack of an explosive first step, it’s fair to wonder what Giddey’s ceiling as both a perimeter defender and shot-creator on the offensive end is. Despite that, the production speaks to his quality.
Giddey is averaging 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game playing against grown men at age 18. With tremendous rebounding ability, fantastic passing, and a jump shot that is getting better with each passing game, Giddey profiles as a player that could get time right away without G League time.
Sports Illustrated has Giddey ranked 11th on their most recent Big Board, while ESPN slotted him 13th overall and Tankathon has the Aussie ranked 15th. The Raptors wouldn’t be reaching at all to select Giddey, as an improved shot, which could come right away with Nick Nurse as his coach, could end up making him a star from the jump.
Projecting the success of domestic players is hard enough for NBA teams, and an 18-year-old Australian might be even more difficult to get a handle on. Aron Baynes shouldn’t sour Toronto’s views on players from down under, as Giddey could be a star if developed correctly.