It’s been a half-decade since the Toronto Raptors made a selection near the top of the NBA Draft and they’re reportedly pulling out all the stops to make sure they nail this year’s pick.
Two Raptors scouts including Raptors Director of Global Scouting Patrick Engelbrecht have reportedly ventured down to Australia to watch NBA lottery-bound prospect Josh Giddey, according to The Daily Telegraph.
“The fact Engelbrecht and his co-worker have flown halfway around the world when the Australian Government mandates any international traveller must quarantine for 14 days, means the Raptors are seriously interested in Giddey as a draft prospect,” Matt Logue reported Saturday.
Giddey is a 6-foot-8, 205-pound wing who is averaging 11.4, 7.1 rebounds, and 7.4 assists in 25 games this season for the Adelaide 36ers. He’s ranked as the 11th best prospect in this year’s draft according to Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo.
“Giddey has done wonders for his stock over the past couple months, to the point where his productivity in the NBL is impossible to ignore. He’s arguably the best passer in the draft, has great size, thinks the game to an advanced degree, and doesn’t turn 19 until October,” Woo wrote. “Giddey is an average athlete and is still developing a reliable jumper (though he’s made definite strides in that area). Best-case scenario, you’d want him to play on the ball to maximize his passing skills, but he’ll need to get stronger and work on creating his own shot in order to get there. His shot is a bit mechanical and will likely take some time to develop. Defensively he has some basic feel for where to be, but needs to work on his technique and footwork to have a chance at containing the perimeter. Still, he’s tough, mature, and has held his own against much older competition this season, and that success is a strong indicator he’ll find a way to adjust in the NBA. There’s a lot of room for optimism here, and his innate versatility and feel are great selling points.”
Right now Giddey seems to be projected to go a little bit after the Raptors’ pick, sort of in the mid-to-late lottery range, but if Toronto slips down the lottery standings and Giddey continues to produce this season, the Raptors might test their luck again with another Aussie addition this summer.