This year the Raptors clearly drafted by need and I can’t say I’m happy about it. In my recent review of the Leafs’ 2012 draft I examined the reasons to draft by talent and by need (and why, if you can determine who is the most talented, it makes sense to draft by talent and trade for need if necessary).
For the past two years, the Raptors have actually drafted by talent:
- Last year, they took Valanciunas 5th who, though being a project and a dreaded European centre just like Bargs, was considered by many to be the best player remaining at that spot.
- The year before they took Ed Davis at 13 who dropped substantially and was originally thought to have been more of a top 10 pick, even though they had no need of an undersized PF.
We have yet to see Valanciunas but Davis has turned out to be significantly better than the 13th best player in his draft class, at least to date.
So I made the assumption the Raptors would do the same this year. I figured they would draft Waiters as the best player available at 8 who also luckily filled a need. That’s not what happened. The consensus was that Barnes was next on the board and that’s where I had my major reservations. There has been little good about Barnes in the news lately. Maybe its bandwagonism but Barnes certainly seems to care more about his brand than about his game. Anyway, Golden State solved that problem.
Because Waiters went so high somebody else had to fall. Now, like many other people, I was not sold on Drummond in any way shape or form. Basically, he is a giant risk. Had he been drafted second, as many people thought at the end of the NCAA season, he might have been a huge bust. On the other hand, if he suddenly pulls a Hibbert and gets serious about an NBA career, he could be an absolute star (I am skeptical about the latter, but this is a draft after all). Fact is, Drummond was a top 5 player coming into this draft and he was available at 8. The Raptors should have drafted him even if he created a conflict with Valanciunas. Yes, Valunciunas is likely more ready for the NBA. Yes, Valanicunus certainly has more of a motor than Drummond, but that’s not why you draft Drummond. You draft Drummond because other teams (Detroit for one) wanted him.
The other reason to draft Drummond (or to trade your 8th pick so another team can draft him) is because Ross, the player the Raptors had at #3 (in terms of need and talent combined, one hopes) would have been available lower down. One mock draft I looked at had him 14th. So, as my friend pointed out, wouldn’t it make sense to say draft Drummond and have Houston draft Ross at 12 (assuming he was still available) and then trade Drummond to Houston (who are in asset-stockpiling mode) for Ross and someone else? Wouldn’t the Raps come out better that way?
By Win Shares:
- Drummond is the 3rd best player in the draft (taken 9th)
- Barnes is the 5th best player in the draft (taken 7th)
- Ross is the 12th best player in the draft
- Drummond is the 4th best player in the draft
- Barnes is the 13th best player
- Ross is the 14th best player
As for their second pick, Acy at 37: I like Acy a lot but – and it’s a big but – who knows if his game translates to the NBA level. (He is a little short for my liking and the Raptors already have Ed Davis, another short PF who excels at certain defensive traits when he isn’t over-matched in size.) Moreover, many other better picks were available here. His teammate, the other Quincy, though having injury red flags, would hardly be a risk at 37 and was generally esteemed as the better prospect. Doron Lamb was also available. Again, if the Raps were sold on Acy, why not trade down for more assets? If they wanted someone before Acy slightly higher up, why not package 37 and 56 for that guy?
As of 2017, Acy was the 23rd best player by both WS and VORP so I was wrong.
For the third, Zubcic at 56, I am quite happy. Some people think this guy is one of the better Euros out there this year. He might not turn into anything, but we are talking about the 56th pick in the NBA draft, a pick that rarely results in an NBA player. Why not take the plunge?
Zubjic has never played in the NBA as of 2017.
On the whole, I can’t say I’m too happy about this. I hope The positive stuff I have read about Ross is right but mostly I hope that Drummond doesn’t turn into a star in the NBA.