Toronto Raptors: Raptors could select Elijah Hughes with 29th pick

LOUISVILLE, KY - FEBRUARY 19: Elijah Hughes (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - FEBRUARY 19: Elijah Hughes (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors will be selecting 29th at the 2020 NBA Draft. Elijah Hughes of the Syracuse Orangemen could be the next young prospect to wear a Toronto Raptors jersey.

The Toronto Raptors are a championship-contending team in the NBA and have been for seven years. Their management team of the president, Masai Ujiri, and general manager, Bobby Webster, has drafted well over the years to build the successful team that the Toronto Raptors have become.

What they do at the 2020 NBA Draft may have more impact than in past years. The salary cap has been frozen at 109 million instead of rising to 119 million as originally projected before the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused the interruption of the 2019/20 season and financial losses to franchises and the league. There hasn’t been an NBA game played before a live crowd since March 11th, 2020, and may not be for some time.

This means teams like the Toronto Raptors are losing out on the gate, merchandise and concession stand revenue. Therefore, committing to a drafted player who will get a guaranteed four-year contract with incremental raises each year could be financially restrictive.

The Toronto Raptors will select the second last player of the 2020 NBA Draft’s first-round in what is considered a collection of decent but not dominant prospects to choose from. The small-forward/shooting guard from the Syracuse Orangemen Elijah Hughes could be the next young talent Toronto adds to its roster.

Elijah Hughes is a six-foot-six wing player with a six-foot-nine wingspan and was the leading scorer for the Syracuse Orangemen in 2020 at 19 a game. How Elijah Hughes can help the Toronto Raptors

Elijah Hughes could help the Toronto Raptors in various ways if he were their selection at the 2020 NBA Draft. Shooting, athleticism, and defensive ability are qualities most members of the Toronto Raptors squad possess. Elijah Hughes would add more of these attributes to the team.

The Toronto Raptors, as a team, took 37 three-point shot attempts per game in 2019/20, making 37.4 percent of them for fifth overall in the NBA. Elijah Hughes is a player that has shown an ability to make threes with range while trailing a play, in catch and shoot situations, and off the dribble. He shot the three at a 34.2 percent rate in 2019/20.

Elijah Hughes is athletic as well. He runs the floor well, often finishing his team’s plays in transition. As a top-five team in the NBA relating to transitional play, the Toronto Raptors averaged 27.8 points per game in transition in 2019/20.

What often helps with transition offense is a good defense that forces opponents into turnovers, and Elijah Hughes would fit right in with the Toronto Raptors in this category. He averaged 1.2 steals and .8 blocks per game. He has quick hands, and his athleticism allows him to take away an opponent’s shot attempts.

Elijah Hughes can defend the perimeter and can be versatile defending positions 1-3 on the basketball court.

Elijah Hughes can also help the Toronto Raptors with his ball-handling skills and his playmaking as he averaged 3.4 assists in 2019/20. He is capable of creating his own shot due to his good ball-handling skills.

Skills Elijah Hughes must improve to help the Toronto Raptors.

To be a consistent member of the Toronto Raptors’ rotation, if they draft him, there are a few things Elijah Hughes must improve upon. Decision making, finishing in traffic, and man to man defense are weaknesses in his game right now.

There are times that when Elijah Hughes decides to drive to the basket, pass, or even shoot where he is not making a good decision. He will settle for long-range shots too frequently or drive the lane into traffic and either force a shot or turn the ball over with a poor pass. While Elijah Hughes averaged 3.4 assists per game, he also averaged 2.3 turnovers as well.

If drafted by the Toronto Raptors, this issue could be mitigated as the Raptors’ would likely use him as a floor spacer. However, his ball-handling and athleticism are too good to limit Elijah Hughes to a catch and shoot player, but the Toronto Raptors could have him work on his decision making with the Raptors 905.

When you watch the Syracuse Orangemen performances in 2019/20, head coach Jim Boeheim relied on zone defense much of this past season. It was obvious in that system Elijah Hughes excelled, but his man-to-man coverage was questionable.

Of note, offensively, Elijah Hughes will often set up for a corner three but is not involved in the offensive play. This could be by the coach’s design to space the floor, but the lack of movement can stagnate the offense and force teammates to choose low percentage isolation plays. Elijah Hughes is most effective when he moves cutting back door when he plays off of the ball.

Why the Toronto Raptors should draft Elijah Hughes

Several reasons make drafting Elijah Hughes a possibility for the Toronto Raptors. According to, Elijah Hughes would be the 36th best player in the draft while Toronto selects 29th.

Also, with the recent legal trouble that Terence Davis finds himself embroiled in, the Toronto Raptors may need to replace Davis’ talents. Elijah Hughes could provide the ball-handling, shooting, and the defense lost if the Toronto Raptors had to sever ties with Terence Davis.

Elijah Hughes rates highly in terms of athleticism, size, strength, leadership, shooting, passing, and NBA readiness according to, making him a viable option for the Toronto Raptors to select at 29 in the draft. These are all skills the Toronto Raptors place a premium on. The real concern with Elijah Hughes is if he will get better and what the ceiling would be on his improvement.

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