The Toronto Raptors held their fourth session of pre-draft workouts on Thursday at the practice court located within the Air Canada Center, and the most recent group of prospects featured talent from some of the top college basketball programs in the country.
In total, four forwards and two guards ran the floor on Thursday, but unlike the workout sessions held earlier in the week, those who attended included a pair of projected first-rounders, one of which is a player that the Raptors could realistically draft with the 20th overall pick.
Coincidentally ranked 20th by Garry Parrish of CBSSports.com, forward Kyle Anderson spent last season developing into a promising pro talent while averaging 14.6 PPG, 8.8 RPG, and 6.5 APG in 36 games as a sophomore at UCLA. Projected as high as 13th overall by some, Anderson’s 6-foot-9, 230-pound frame is tailor-made for the NBA, but there have been a few questions concerning the position he’ll play at the next level.
While Anderson possesses that rare, Magic Johnson-type mixture of size, the ability to be an effective playmaker, and strong skills as a ball handler, the former Bruin lacks experience in the low post despite his respectable numbers as a rebounder, and needs to further develop his outside shot in order to produce consistently as a small forward in the NBA.
On the other hand, Anderson isn’t exactly the most gifted athlete, but still found a way to be a force in the Pac-12. And in response to those who feel that Anderson could be a defensive liability, it’s hard to believe that someone with his understanding of the game won’t develop on both sides of the ball as a pro.
After all, how many other sophomores with his size and potential posted similar offensive numbers in one of the country’s true power conferences?
Former Clemson player K.J. McDaniels represented the other potential first-rounder in attendance, and could potentially bring many of the qualities lacking in Anderson to the Raptors if Toronto decides to draft the former college standout. As a junior, McDaniels registered averages of 17.1 PPG and 7.1 RPG in 36 games, and became known throughout the conference as a stout defender.
But outside of his ability to defend and reputation as a capable scorer, McDaniels’ 6-foot-6, 200-pound frame all but guarantees his future as a guard in the NBA, and the Raptors need a rebounding forward.
Ty is an NBA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @abovethefoldTy.