Raptors mock draft has Toronto taking best rebounder in college

May 29, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
May 29, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

The latest Toronto Raptors mock draft prognostications have been upended after the Thad Young trade, as Toronto parted with a first-round pick and essentially moved back about 16 spots by acquiring a high second-round pick. Masai Ujiri feels confident in his ability to draft a stud in this range.

The Raptors could look to add a potential bench weapon with a solid 3-point shot, but the temptation to look for a reliable rebounder and defender in the post could intrigue them. Even with the No. 32 pick originally owned by Detroit, the Raptors are likely bullish on their chances of adding a playmaker.

Toronto will have plenty of options available at No. 32 if the Pistons keep losing, and some of the experts believe that Ujiri will decide to bring one of the best players in all of college basketball to Canada.

A two-round mock from Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman has the Raptors positioned to snag Kentucky center Oscar Tshiebwe. The West Virginia transfer is currently leading the country in rebounds with 15.3 per game, meaning he could be a major Band-Aid for one of Toronto’s biggest issues.

Toronto Raptors mock draft: Will Masai Ujiri draft Oscar Tshiebwe?

Tshiebwe is 6-9 with a 7-4 wingspan, meaning that the Congolese center meets the physical requirements Ujiri wants to see out of his big men. With 1.8 steals and 1.5 blocks per game, Tshiebwe can disrupt passing lanes with his length and protect the rim with aplomb.

Toronto ranks as one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the league despite making some investments in the frontcourt, and Tshiebwe could play a big part in rectifying that issue. Tshiebwe has recorded at least 10 rebounds in all but two games this season.

Tshiebwe has put himself in the National Player of the Year conversation with how he’s helped a deep Wildcats team on both ends. The last Kentucky player to put up these kinds of numbers was Hall of Famer Dan Issel. Imagine a combination of Tshiebwe and Precious Achiuwa in the frontcourt for the next few years.

Tshiebwe’s scoring might be a bit misleading as a large chunk of his points come on easy dunks or finishes right around the rim. Toronto must be willing to spend a ton of developmental time to make sure Tshiebwe ends up as a viable pro player soon.

With Khem Birch struggling of late and Chris Boucher’s contract expiring at the end of the season, getting Tshiebwe would be a way to make sure that the frontcourt depth behind Pascal Siakam is stable for years to come.

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