2014 NBA Draft: Toronto Raptors Keeping Options Open With Pre-Draft Workouts

Tyler Ennis

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As the march towards this June’s NBA Draft continues, players from the NCAA, Europe, and even the D-league are auditioning for potential employers throughout the league.

And this past week, the Toronto Raptors held the first of four pre-draft workouts in order to get a closer look at some of the prospects who the front office may be interested in bringing north of the border. Highlighted by local product and Tyler Ennis, who is widely considered to be a lottery pick, the first session was held on Thursday at Toronto’s practice facility in the Air Canada Center; but outside of the Canadian point guard, the majority of those invited aren’t likely to be chosen prior to the second round of the draft.

Most notable among the others in attendance, former Michigan State guard Keith Appling was initially expected to provide the Spartans with a reliable scoring option as a freshman, but in four seasons, the projected second-rounder fell victim to the reality of college basketball and never surpassed the 13.4 PPG he averaged as a junior.

While most of Thursday’s hopefuls weren’t exactly household names, the Raptors sure found an eclectic mix of amateur talent including South Dakota State University‘s Jordan Dykstra, a 6-foot-8 forward who averaged 16.0 PPG with 7.6 RPG against Summit League competition as a senior, Saint Joseph‘s alum Ronald Roberts, and Norvel Pelle, a 6-foot-10 center who withdrew from last year’s draft and spent the 2013-14 season with Delaware of the NBA’s D-league.

Also at Thursday’s workout, former Indiana State point guard Jake Odum was a quality playmaker during his four years at Larry Bird’s alma mater, averaging 13.1 points with 4.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game in his final year of NCAA basketball, and depending on the circumstances, he could be an option for the Raptors late in the final round of the draft.

Other than Ennis, Toronto’s interest in adding some Canadian content to the roster was evident in the presence of Canucks Jordan Bachynski, a 7-foot-2 center from Arizona State, 6-foot-10 forward Chadrack Lufile, who played his college ball for Wichita State, and 6-foot-11 center Chad Posthumus, who plied his trade at Moorhead State University.

At the moment, the Raptors own the 20th overall selection, but are clearly doing everything in their power to ensure that the franchise drafts a serviceable rookie with both the 37th and 59th overall picks in the second round.

Following Thursday’s workout, Toronto is scheduled to hold three more pre-draft auditions on June 3-5, but the names of those invited won’t be released until the morning of each session; and at this point, the current list of possibilities is essentially endless.

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