Toronto Raptors should target Jahmi’us Ramsey in this year’s draft

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The NBA playoffs are underway, but the Toronto Raptors also need to be preparing for the draft. One player they should consider is Jahmi’us Ramsey.

So far the NBA’s bubble experiment has been a success. There haven’t been any positive coronavirus tests. The playoffs are underway and the Toronto Raptors just swept an underman Brooklyn Nets’ squad.

The Raptors are getting ready for a second-round match-up with the Boston Celtics. However, the team also needs to prepare for the draft.

The Toronto Raptors went 7-1 in the seeding games. They finished the regular season with the second-best record. It also means they will have the no. 29 pick in this year’s draft.

The draft is currently scheduled for October 16. There have been discussions about moving back the draft and the start of free agency. But right now, the draft will occur just three days after game seven of the NBA Finals.

When they have had a first-round pick, the Raptors are used to selecting in the 20s. The team traded away their previous two first-rounders. But before that, the Raptors selected Delon Wright (20), Pascal Siakam (27), and OG Anunoby (23) in consecutive years.

All three players have developed into solid pros. Siakam is the most promising of the bunch. He was last season’s Most Improved Player and started in this year’s All-Star Game. The Raptors will be hoping to find another diamond in the ruff this year.

This year’s draft is devoid of any surefire franchise-type players. But there should be value late in the first round into the second. There will be a number of players available who are capable of developing into rotation players. This should always be the goal, finding someone who can contribute to a winning team.

There is always a debate when it comes to the draft. Do you select a player based on fit or do you take the best player available?

If the Toronto Raptors were to select based on fit, they could go in a number of a different ways. With Fred VanVleet set to enter free agency, the team could target a backup point guard. They could also go for a young big man as both Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are in the final year of their contracts.

With so much uncertainty surrounding next season and how that will impact the salary cap, most teams are going to be hesitant to spend this offseason.

The Raptors should re-sign VanVleet to a multi-year contract. He will eventually take over for Kyle Lowry as the team’s unquestioned floor general.

As for Gasol and Ibaka, I would assume that Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster would look to bring back one or both of them on one-year contracts similar to what was done with Lowry.

Beyond that, the Raptors, like every other team, could use another versatile forward. Siakam and Anunoby are locked in as the starter. But it would be nice to add another wing player capable of backing them up.

Something else that the Raptors could use is some more scoring off the bench. Norman Powell has emerged this season. Terence Davis should be a fixture in next year’s rotation. Beyond that, there aren’t any players capable of manufacturing points on the second unit.

One player that could fill that void is Jahmi’us Ramsey.

Who is Jahmi’us Ramsey

Jahmi’us Ramsey is a freshman combo guard out of Texas Tech.  He led the Red Raiders in scoring at 15 points per game. Ramsey also chipped in with four rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals per game.

Coming out of high school, Ramsey was considered a five-star recruit by Rivals.com. He scored 15 points while collecting six rebounds and two steals in the Jordan Brand Classic. He was also named the co-MVP of the Ballislife All American Game.

Ramsey played well in his lone college season. He scored 20 plus points on six different occasions. Ramsey’s best game came in a win over Iowa State. He scored 25 points, along with five rebounds, seven assists, and two steals.

Chris Beard was able to put Ramsey into a featured role after Jarrett Culver left for the NBA. For his efforts, Ramsey was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Ramsey was also selected to the All-Big Twelve Second Team.

He has good size for a combo guard at 6-foot-4. There are conflicting reports about his wingspan. Some outlets have it measured as 6-foot-6, whereas others suggest it is 6-foot-10. Based on highlights, his arms look long and I would guess he measures closer to 6-foot-10.

Ramsey has an NBA ready body. He is thick and he is strong. Ramsey is an above-average athlete. He likes to get into the lane and create highlight level dunks. Ramsey’s strength should allow him to handle the more physical nature of the NBA.

While at Texas Tech, Ramsey spent time both on and off the ball. He isn’t a true point guard but should be able to function as a secondary ball-handler at the next level.

Ramsey is a three-level scorer. He can get to the rim. Ramsey can shoot off the bounce. He can also function as a spot-up shooter.

Ramsey has a tight handle. He is capable of creating for himself and others off the dribble. The Raptors could view him as a player similar to Davis. He is someone with a solid foundation who with further development would fit nicely into their egalitarian offense.

It is Ramsey’s potential as a shooter that could make him even more valuable to an NBA team. Three-point shooting has never been more important. Players that can’t space the floor have a hard time getting playing time. This is especially true in the playoffs, where a defensive specialist is almost unplayable.

Ramsey shot 42.6 percent from three-point range in his lone season in Lubbock. He was a high volume shooter as well. Ramsey attempted 141 3s on the season (5.2 per game).

In order to become a true two-way player, Ramsey needs to be more consistent on the defensive end. He has good size and athleticism to be an on-ball defender. Ramsey should also be able to get into passing lanes to cause deflections. Ramsey just needs to stay engaged defensively in order to earn consistent playing time.

Ramsey is generally regarded as a late first-round pick. ESPN has him ranked no. 29 on their top 100 big board. Sports Illustrated has Ramsey being selected at no. 30 in their most recent mock draft. Bleacher Report has Ramsey being taken by the Raptors at no. 29. CBS has Ramsey going slightly higher at no. 25.

How Ramsey fits with the Raptors

Ramsey is one of the youngest players in this year’s draft. He just turned 19 in June. As such, a lot of his appeal comes from his potential.

The Toronto Raptors have targeted older prospects in recent years. Wright, Siakam, VanVleet, and Davis all spent multiple years in college. As such, they were more ready to contribute from day one.

But it wouldn’t be the worst idea for the Raptors to add a player that needs a little more experience. The Raptors should return most of their current rotation next season. As such, they can take a swing on a high upside pick like Ramsey.

Anunoby was drafted a few weeks before his 20th birthday. He is still one of the youngest players on the roster. But he is also a tireless worker who has gained the trust of the coaching staff. He has been able to mold his game into whatever the Raptors need him to be. Ramsey could follow a similar path.

Nick Nurse has shown a willingness to play rookies. If someone is prepared to play hard and compete on both ends of the floor, they can earn playing time.

At first, Ramsey would likely just provide some scoring off the bench. But he would have the opportunity to transform into something much more.

The Toronto Raptors are one of the best teams, along with the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, in terms of developing talent in the NBA. Ramsey would likely split his time between the Raptors and the 905. He will be given the opportunity to become a complete player and a two-way contributor.

Soon enough, there will be an opening spot in the starting lineup. Lowry won’t be here forever. Ramsey could leapfrog Powell and Davis in order to slide into that spot.

They are similar players in terms of size. Powell and Davis have put the work in to become consistent outside shooters. But Ramsey is already a better shooter at this stage of his career.  He just needs to become more consistent on the defensive end.

The Raptors know that defense wins championships. They had the second best defensive rating behind the Milwaukee Bucks this season. If you don’t play hard on defense, Nurse isn’t going to put you in the game.

Ramsey might seem like an odd choice for the Toronto Raptors Raptors since they already have Davis and Powell on the roster. But Davis is comfortable playing the point. Powell often moves up a spot to small forward. All three have enough size to allow Nurse to plug them in at different spots, depending on who else is on the floor. Plus this late in the draft, the Raptors should just be focused on adding talent and worrying about fit later.

Ujiri and Webster need to take the best player available and see what happens. If Ramsey is prepared to put the work in, he has all the tools in order to become a two-way starter in this league. The Toronto Raptors have always used the backend of their roster for development. Ramsey could easily become the newest success story.

Next: Three teams expected to sign Fred VanVleet