The final name on the list is perhaps the most attainable prospect for the Toronto Raptors, Kansas big man Udoka Azubuike. At 7-feet tall and 270 lbs, the Nigerian center would quickly become one of Masai Ujiri’s favorite players. Azubuike can be picked up with a second-round pick due to the fact that he is a very limited player who is likely to develop much further outside of his role.
Azubuike is a rim-rattler who crashes the boards with aplomb at both ends of the floor. He has always been an imposing presence in the Big 12 but he took it to another level in the 2020 season. Before the outbreak of the COVID-19, the Kansas Jayhawks looked like the clear favorite to win the title and Azubuike was a central part of their success.
Over 31 games Azubike averaged 29.2 points and (a career-high) 22.2 rebounds per 100 possessions. The per 100 possessions numbers were used to showcase just how much Azubuike stepped up his physicality and production. He demolished any defender near the basket and the beauty of his game was the simplicity of it.
Games like his 23-point, 19-rebound double-double in Kansas’ win over then-No. 1 Baylor was a perfect example. Azubuike ran the floor hard and often sealed his man deep in the post. Getting his work done early led to a squeaky clean 11-for-13 shooting night from the field for Azubuike and his 3 blocks were more about the intimidation factor than the blocks themselves. With Azubuike patrolling the paint, Baylor shot 39.7% from the field and only put 61 points.
In the NBA Azubuike will be a classic drop-back pick-and-roll defender and though he has a little bit of mobility, he will be taken advantage of by NBA guards. This is what will hold him to being a bench unit big but in a setting with solid team defenders around him, Azubuike has perhaps the clearest path to be ing a plus contributor on the floor.
Azubuike wouldn’t be the most exciting pick in the world but Azubuike could be a day one contributor with his penchant for aggressive rebounding and finishing around the rim. His hard-working attitude and physicality would endear him to the Toronto Raptors fanbase in no time and stabilize his spot on the roster.