The Toronto Raptors unfortunately do not have a single pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Their first rounder was sent to the Brooklyn Nets as a sweetener in the DeMarre Carroll contract dump trade. Their second rounder is owned by the Phoenix Suns due to the PJ Tucker trade.
Even though the Raptors have no picks, it’s fun to speculate who the team would’ve been looking at. The Raptors would’ve been picking 29th and 59th. While that isn’t exactly the lottery, there are still diamonds in the rough at that stage of the draft.
So, I’ve narrowed down three prospects in the late first round-second round area that I think would’ve been great fits on the Raptors.
1. Jarred Vanderbilt – Wing, Kentucky, Freshman
A defensive wing player is exactly what the Raptors could use off the bench behind OG Anunoby. Vanderbilt stands at 6’8″, 215 pounds with a 7-1 wingspan. His offensive potential is limited but throughout his only season at Kentucky he showed a lot of defensive promise. His length already gives him so much versatility on that end of the floor.
A tenacious, lengthy rebounder with a high motor is perfect off the bench. Watching Vanderbilt reminds me of current Raptor Pascal Siakam. Much like Siakam, Vanderbilt doesn’t take plays off and can run the floor like a mad man.
Lockdown defenders will always have a place in the NBA. In one season at Kentucky, Vanderbilt has had scouts salivating at his defensive potential. Some even compared him to Dennis Rodman.
2. Vince Edwards – Wing, Purdue, Senior
Late in the draft, it’s a perfect time to take a well established senior. Vince Edwards is a wing player who projects to be a solid 3-and-D role player off the bench. Edwards shot 40 percent from the college 3-point line and 83 percent from the free throw line.
He stands at 6’8”, 225 lbs with a 7-0 wingspan. Those measurables can allow him to be a potentially versatile defender, and with his high basketball IQ he would be perfect off the bench.
My favorite aspect of Edwards’ game is his ability to play off the ball. Throughout this past season, he consistently made cuts and set screens. Off-ball play is one of the most important aspects for a role player in today’s NBA, and with the Raptors ball dominant guards, he’d be a great fit.
3. Kevin Huerter – Wing, Maryland, Sophomore
A true sharpshooter is what this Raptors squad has been missing. A consistent threat from deep, Huerter will force opposing defenses to close out on him. Having a guy who can knock down threes is a necessity in the NBA today.
Huerter shot 42 percent from the college 3-point line. He has 3-and-D “glue guy” potential off the bench which could inject the Raptors with new life. Countless times this past season, the Raptors missed a guy who could knock down open 3’s.
It’s unfortunate that the Raptors will not have the chance to draft on of these three guys but anything is possible come draft time.