The Toronto Raptors are a solid team, but they need some help in certain areas. Rebounding is a big concern for the team, and the team needs an upgrade from Aron Baynes at the starting center position. Could a draft prospect who is steadily rising in the rankings in North Carolina’s Day’Ron Sharpe be a key piece to the Raptors core?
Sharpe came into this year as the 15th recruit in the country, per 247sports. Sharpe is known for his solid defense and rebounding skills, and plays the role of a traditional center for the Tar Heels. In terms of playstyle, he and Andre Drummond have a very similar style of play given his excellent rebounding skills and play in the post.
Sharpe is currently slated to be picked between 12th overall to 20th overall according to most mock drafts. If the NBA season were to end today, the Raptors would hold a pick at the low end of that range, putting them in Sharpe’s sweet spot. Rather than opting for an athletic wing like Stanford’s Ziaire Williams or Florida State’s Scottie Barnes, Masai Ujiri could pick Sharpe.
Can Day’ron Sharpe fit in with the Toronto Raptors?
Sharpe began the season coming off the bench, but soon enough his efficiency showed that he should be starting, and he has done extremely well as a starter in his role. His offensive numbers (9.7 points, 7.8 rebounds per game) will not jump off the page, but defensively he has been able to lock down some of the best centers in the NCAA.
In his last game against Duke, Sharpe scored a modest 11 points, but also grabbed nine rebounds and added on a steal. Those don’t sound like amazing numbers until one mentions that he posted those totals in only 17 minutes of play. His motor has been highly touted, and his ability to compete and play strong defense is his biggest asset.
These days, teams like for their centers to be able to stretch the floor. Centers such as Drummond, who plays excellent defense, have fallen out of favor in the league due to the fact that they do not take many 3 pointers.
However, Sharpe is only 19, and can definitely work on his streaky shooting splits.
Something else intriguing about Sharpe is his size. Being 6-11, he would not be the tallest center in the league, but at 265 pounds, he should have no trouble adjusting to the physicality of the NBA game. His athleticism is slightly below average, but he is only 19 years old and a team as good at developing as the Raptors have been would be able to get him into peak athletic form.
Could Day’Ron Sharpe start right away?
Toronto definitely needs a center, and Sharpe could step right in and give this team an injection of bulk and effort on both sides of the ball.
Sharpe is the kind of player who the Raptors absolutely love to take chances on, as Ujiri has a fetish for strong, defensive-minded players who have modest to solid offensive totals. Defensively, he should be able to replicate what Marc Gasol brought to Toronto, and the coaching staff will be able to work with him on his offensive game.
What the Raptors have been lacking this season is a bully in the paint. Aron Baynes was supposed to be that bully, but besides some decent rebounding and some screen setting, he hasn’t been the same player we saw last season in Phoenix. Sharpe is very good at using his size lock down opposing bigs, which is exactly what Toronto needed from Baynes.
The Raptors should definitely prioritize getting a center on the roster. While Chris Boucher has performed very well, he is not a traditional center, and the Raptors need someone much bigger than him who can bully his way through the paint in both zones. Drafting Sharpe would fill that need, as well as getting a player who can be built around for the future.