I was surprised to see that Masai Ujiri was not able to find a trade he liked to get into the 2013 NBA Draft. In a time where deals were a-plenty (16 reported deals on draft night) the Toronto Raptors were silent. I must admit that I am quite pleased, as I previously posted an article about Masai Ujiri wanting into the NBA draft which I urged Ujiri to stand pat. Of some concern is the blockbuster trade that transpired between Brooklyn and Boston. This trade sent Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to Brooklyn for Gerald Wallace, Marshon Brooks, and three 1st round draft picks. With that blockbuster in the books, combined with the Miami Heat’s recent dominance, the Raptors will have a lot of work ahead of them this off-season!
I am also surprised that Canadian point guard Myck Kabongo was not drafted, and that the Miami Heat beat the Raptors to the punch by inviting Kabongo to their summer league training camp. This is a disappointment to me as the Raptors lack point guard depth, never more so since declining John Lucas’s team option and with Sebastian Telfair presumably on the way out. Kabongo had issues with eligibility during the start of the season only playing in 11 games. This may have been the reason he was overlooked in the draft even if he was only projected to be a late in the second round pick.
Kabongo did perform well in his shortened season with the Texas Longhorns. He averaged 14.6 points on 41.8% shooting. Kabongo averaged 5.5 assists, but did struggle from 3 point range shooting a woeful 29.6%. Kabongo is a pass first point guard with a good variety of hesitation dribbles and moves. Unfortunately Kabongo does need work on his finishing at the rim and his shoot off the dribble, but is an excellent passer in the paint and adept at drawing contact at the rim with 0.77 of his shot attempts end in free throws. Kabongo seems to like to play pressure defense and has quick hands which produce intercepted and deflected passes, but is criticized for gambling a bit too often and not recognizing the pick and roll early enough.
Still, he’s a worthy gamble. Wouldn’t it be something if Masai Ujiri can lure Kabongo away from the Miami Heat and onto the Raptors’ roster for the preseason? Assuming Kabongo performs well in the summer league, Ujiri will have pulled off a coup.