The Toronto Raptors were one of the most surprising teams in the NBA last season. Despite trading away Rudy Gay just a few months into the season, the Raptors finished with a 48-34 record and won the Atlantic Division. Kyle Lowry emerged as one of the best point guards in the league, and DeMar DeRozan was named an All-Star for the first time in his career.
This offseason, general manager Masai Ujiri will look to the 2014 NBA Draft to strengthen the team’s roster. Toronto holds three picks in the draft, including the 20th overall selection. In a draft that is deep with talent, the Raptors have an opportunity to add impact pieces with their selections.
If available, point guard Tyler Ennis would be a great selection for Toronto in the first-round. The Raptors’ current point guard situation is fluid. Lowry is a free agent and will command a big contract after his superb 2013-14 season. Moreover, Toronto has a team-option on the final year of Greivis Vasquez‘s contract. The Raptors will likely bring Vasquez back, but he is better suited in a backup role.
As a freshman, Ennis averaged 12.9 points and 5.5 assists per game. He is an excellent passer who demonstrated great poise running Syracuse‘s offense. Ennis can also penetrate and create his own shot. His floater is deadly and helps make up for his lack of explosiveness around the rim. If Lowry leaves in free agency, Ennis could assume the starting role. If Lowry stays, Ennis could be a valuable backup who would give Toronto flexibility with Vasquez.
Toronto’s second pick in the draft comes at No. 37. The Raptors should look to add depth to their frontcourt with this selection. Outside of Jonas Valanciunas, the Raptors lack a true center on their roster. Patric Young would help fix this problem. At 6-foot-10 and 247 pounds, Young has the size and strength to hold his own in the paint. He has a non-stop motor and is aggressive on the boards. While Young never developed into a polished offensive player during his four seasons at Florida, his toughness and defensive ability will enable him to get time in an NBA rotation.
With the 59th overall pick, Toronto would be wise to target small forward Joe Harris. Like Young, Harris played four years in college. Harris’ biggest strength is his outside shooting. He hit over 40 percent of his three-point shots in three of his four college seasons. While his scoring numbers dipped as a senior, he still showed the ability to come off of screens and score from beyond the arc. Harris would provide another three-point weapon off Toronto’s bench.