Toronto could add Stanford star in 2021


The Toronto Raptors are doing everything in their power to stay alive in what has become a very challenging season, but Nick Nurse’s squad remains outside of the playoff picture and speeding towards a lottery pick. In what has started to become a very deep class behind stars like Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham, USC’s Evan Mobley, and a pair of former top high school prospects in Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green, Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster might be able to select a potential franchise changer in 2021.

According to Rookie Wire’s consensus mock, which rounds up several of the most recent mock drafts, the Raptors, picking seventh in this piece, landed on Stanford star freshman Ziaire Williams. The toolsy forward has the potential to be a star on both ends of the floor as soon as he arrives in the pros.

Toronto Raptors mock draft selection Ziaire Williams could develop into a two-way star

Williams, a former star at Sierra Canyon High School alongside Bronny James, isn’t a perfect prospect. He is still developing his offensive game, especially his inconsistent jumper, and his bad habit of playing out of control at times has led to a 37 percent shooting percentage. Also, at 6-8, he weighs just 185 pounds. Whoever drafts him needs to get him some cheeseburgers ASAP, as his body won’t stand up to the pressure of the NBA.

Despite the concerns, it’s easy to see why he is so hyped up. At 6-8, his ability to handle and distribute the ball really stands out, especially for someone his age. Williams, who is averaging 12.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game, is best served on offense as a rim-runner, using his insane hops and athletic ability to slash right through the lane and get some high-percentage looks at the rim.

If Williams ended up in Toronto, Nurse could roll out a lineup that puts OG Anunoby down in the frontcourt more often while letting Williams hang out near the perimeter. Doing so would make the Raptors one of the most fearsome defensive teams in the league, and the offense shouldn’t take long to fully blossom given Nurse and the staff’s history with player development on that end of the floor.

While some might consider Williams a bit redundant with the presence of Anunoby, Williams has much greater offensive potential given his ball-handling. The Raptors could both improve their short-term outlook and draft a new franchise cornerstone by adding Williams.