Raptors Top Ten Draft Selections of all time

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JONAS VALANCIUNAS – Centre, Lithuania,

Selected by: Bryan Colangelo, #5, 2011

Undeterred by the Bargnani disappointment, Colangelo selected another giant European five years later. While the final grade on JV is a long way off, the initial returns are strong enough for him to join our top ten ranking.

The 2011 draft class is still maturing, although there are several players who have separated themselves from the pack. Kawhi Leonard, chosen #15 by Indiana then traded to San Antonio (why?), may have an MVP in his future, likewise Jimmy Butler. Tristan Thompson pulls down rebounds at a furious rate for Cleveland. Kyrie Irving, another Cavalier, was chosen #1. The only problem he’s had in his meteoric career rise is injuries.

There have been noteworthy busts as well, including Jimmer Fredette and Jan Vesely (what were they thinking in Washington with him? He wasn’t worth a second-round flyer.) Derrick Williams, the #2 pick, has bounced around, but may have found a home with the Knicks, so I won’t label him a bust.

JonasValanciunas /

JV has become a cornerstone of the up-and-coming Raptors. He signed an extension in August which gives him a mammoth pay raise starting next season, and his dedication to improvement should make us feel comfortable.

Big men mature late; JV is only 23. He’s averaging close to a double-double this season, and may consistently be there by season’s end. He’s got a sound jump shot to about 18 feet and hits his free throws. He’s learned a bunch of inside moves from greats like Hakeem Olajuwon. The future for Jonas is bright.

Next: #6. Grabbing a gem outside the lottery