The Toronto Raptors mock draft prognosticators have been working overtime trying to get Masai Ujiri some extra firepower off of the bench. While Toronto nailed the selection of Scottie Barnes, they could use one more ball-handler and rim-protector to solidify the back end of the roster.
Toronto lacks a player over 6-9 at the moment, meaning that they lack the protection at the rim needed to become a truly elite team. The lack of a quality backup point guard has also knee-capped this team, as they have been forced to use Barnes as the second-unit generator.
Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated seems to think that Toronto will prioritize getting some height and size over more guards. Rather than look for a switchable big, Toronto will grab a 7-1 rock in the middle that could be a shot-blocking machine if he makes it to the pros.
The Raptors, picking outside the lottery at pick No. 19 in this exercise, are adding Arizona center Christian Koloko. While he needs some development on the offensive end, he could be the interior presence that this team needs off of the bench.
Toronto Raptors mock draft: Will Masai Ujiri select Christian Koloko?
Koloko, a Cameroonian big entering his third season with the Wildcats, is averaging 13.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Perhaps the most important part of his game is his ability to block shots, as his 230-pound body and 7-6 wingspan have helped him block 3.3 shots per game.
Koloko is a dominant post presence that has enough of an offensive game outside of dunking to eat up tons of minutes in his debut season. Khem Birch might be filling that role this season, but Koloko offers a high-ceiling option with legitimate All-Defensive potential if developed correctly.
Koloko, who has helped the Wildcats mold one of the best interior defenses in the country, started to really catch the eye of NBA scouts when he was +18 in a matchup against All-American Kofi Cockburn. Arizona took home a tough win against Cockburn and Illinois, and Koloko chipped in with four blocks and three steals.
Koloko might be a bit on the raw side when looking at his offensive game, as he is totally ineffective the further away he gets from the paint. Will he be athletic enough to keep up with a Raptors defensive scheme that requires big men to switch so often?
Koloko would be another bet on Toronto’s player development system. Could they work on his offensive game enough where he won’t be a liability on that end in his first NBA minutes? At the very least, the Raptors get a quality rebounder and defender to add to the rotation.