Raptors mock draft has Toronto adding experienced senior wing

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 Toronto Raptors mock draft wizards have been working overtime trying to make sure they can identify a perfect player for Masai Ujiri in the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft. Considering the physical boxes Ujiri wants you to check before drafting you, many top prospects could be deemed a bad scheme fit.

The Raptors will likely place a premium on shooting and perimeter defense. While the first trait will help Toronto fix a glaring hole that has hampered their 2021-22 squad, the second will make sure that whomever they take fits in with a Nick Nurse scheme that necessitates switching.

Considering the success they have had with Scottie Barnes this season, Toronto’s reputation as a masterful developer of talent continues to get stronger. If they follow ESPN’s advice from this mock, they could and another intriguing developmental player.

A mock draft from ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz (which had the added twist of only using players in the upcoming NCAA Tournament) had the Raptors selecting Alabama wing Keon Ellis with the No. 31 pick. From a stylistic point of view, Ellis makes a ton of sense for the Raptors.

Toronto Raptors mock draft: Keon Ellis offers shooting and defense.

Ellis spent two years at a junior college before transferring to Alabama last year. Ujiri has a bit of a history when it comes to preferring more experienced upperclassmen over standout freshmen, and Ellis would certainly feed into that narrative.

Ellis is a pesky defender that can shut down point guards and small forwards alike due to his combination of short-area quickness and surprising length. Nate Oats asks a ton out of him on the defensive end. While his production started to slip against elite competition, Ellis has more than enough positive games on film.

As a scorer, Ellis has really shined this year. Despite a limited volume of shots, he has averaged 12.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game this year. Ellis is making 43% of his shots overall while nailing 36% of his 3-pointers and 88% of his free throws. The jump he’s taken from last year to now is remarkable.

On top of the fact that Ellis will turn 23 during his rookie season, his shot selection is extremely questionable. At just 175 pounds, he will need to add some serious weight before he can be trusted as an NBA-level wing defender. That’s a lot of time and investment for one prospect.

Toronto, however, could be willing to spend that time. With Dalano Banton looking much more offensively refined than he did at Nebraska, Ellis might find the perfect nurturing place for his skills in Canada.

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