The wheels are starting to turn for the Toronto Raptors as the 2014 NBA Draft approaches.
It has been widely reported that Syracuse product Tyler Ennis will work out for the team on Thursday. The 6’2″ point guard decided to enter the draft after an outstanding freshman season in which the Orange men’s basketball team advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament.
Ennis played 34 games, all as a starter, and averaged 12.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 2.1 steals in 35.7 minutes per contest.
It also just so happens that the 19-year-old is from the Toronto area.
Although Ennis has been mentioned as a potential lottery pick, some recent mock drafts suggest that his stock may not in fact be that high. NBADraft.Net projects him to be selected 25th by the Houston Rockets, as per DraftExpress.com he will go 16th overall to the Chicago Bulls, and Nathan Giese of HoopsHabit.com thinks the Raptors might take him with the 20th pick.
With point guards Dante Exum and Marcus Smart each projected as top 10 picks and with not every team necessarily looking for help at this position, it suddenly doesn’t seem far-fetched that Ennis could be available later in Round 1 of the draft.
Whether Ennis would be a good fit with the Raptors is a different story.
Obviously Ennis would be better off going to a team that could give him the type of minutes that he will need to develop his game at the NBA level. However, if the Raptors are starting to think that they will have to choose between Lowry and Vasquez, then maybe they view Ennis as someone who could contribute immediately in a reserve role.
The possibility also exists that this workout is nothing more than a formality — a courtesy being extended by both Ennis and the Raptors.
Either way, it certainly doesn’t hurt to get a closer look at a player who might be available. It will also be interesting to hear what Ennis has to say about the thought of beginning his NBA career in Toronto.
Assuming the Raptors decide to make and keep the 20th pick, there will be an abundance of talent and upside to choose from. The question that typically arises is whether a team should take the best player available or go in a direction that fills a current need on the roster.
For the Raptors, those needs include a power forward to shore up the areas of rebounding and shot-blocking as well as a defensive-minded wing player for the bench.
Front-court players Clint Capela (6’11″, 222 lbs), Adreian Payne (6’10″, 239 lbs) and Kristaps Porzingis (7’0″, 220 lbs) and small forwards T.J. Warren (6’8″, 220 lbs) and K.J. McDaniels (6’6″, 196 lbs) are examples of players the Raptors might show some interest in.
The Raptors also hold the 37th and 59th picks in this year’s draft. According to Doug Smith of TheStar.com, the Raptors have arranged more workouts for three days next week, but the names of the players have not been made available.
I am very curious to know who those players will be as that could provide some more insight into what the Raptors have in mind.