Raptors could target French center Ismael Kamagate in NBA Draft

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JUNE 19: Masai Ujiri, President, Toronto Raptors (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Audi Innovation Series)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - JUNE 19: Masai Ujiri, President, Toronto Raptors (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Audi Innovation Series) /

The Toronto Raptors have one major issue to correct on the roster this off-season, and that’s the need to get bigger in the post. Toronto hasn’t shown love for conventional wisdom when it comes to filling out a roster. If they decide to beef up in the paint, French prospect Ismael Kamagate could be a target with their second-round pick.

Born in Paris, the 6-11, 220-pound center could be an ideal developmental choice for the Raptors. Neither Raptors 905 nor the main roster has any real size at the moment, and Kamagate’s strengths are in areas the Raptors need improvement.

He has a 7-3 wingspan and enough mobility to be a very intriguing prospect for teams picking near the end of the lottery. Kamagate has averaged 11.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game in domestic competition in France. Considering the path to playing time can be tough for young players over there, that’s nothing to sneeze at.

The Raptors can afford to take a player that eventually reaches their full potential after a few years of seasoning. If Kamagate gradually expands his game, he should end up becoming a long-term contributor.

2022 NBA Draft prospect Ismael Kamagate can help the Toronto Raptors.

Kamagate has many attributes admired by Raptors management. Offensively, his strong suit is finishing around the basket, making him a good target for points in the paint as the roller in pick-and-roll scenarios.

He isn’t a polished offensive player yet, so you can’t expect polished post maneuvers or many back-to-the-basket plays. His mid-range shot shows promise. If developed, it would make him a decent stretch-five. While nonexistent as a 3-point shooter, Kamagate is decent at free throws, averaging 72% from the charity stripe.

He excels at the defensive end. A true defensive rebounder like Kamagate could be could unlock many extra possessions and fast-break opportunities for the team.

In addition to the possibility of upping Toronto’s rebounding game in the same way other top prospects may, Kamagate could also take away scoring opportunities from the Raptors’ opponents with his 1.43 blocks per game average.

Kamagate’s best skills according to the player himself, as expressed in an interview:

"I would say my mobility for sure, and also my passing ability."

As far as the parts of his game  he is working on:

"In addition to working on my shot and basketball skills, we also worked a lot on my footwork. Then when I returned home to Paris in August, I just worked a lot on my body – both my strength and conditioning – as well as adding more power to my legs."

Kamagate will need to work on his interior defensive instincts and fill out what is a slender frame. However, with the expectation that Chris Boucher will test the free agent market next season, Kamagate would be starting his NBA career with a small role in Toronto’s rotation.

Toronto would also be getting a hard-working player who isn’t afraid to put in the time and effort necessary to become an NBA player. Even if he stayed overseas for another year before coming to North America, Kamagate is willing to ply his trade in France before dominating in Canada.

"I would be okay with that too. Obviously, I would be motivated to work even harder and prove to my team that I am ready, as well as worthy of them spending a draft pick to take a chance on me."

The Raptors are no stranger to leaving a prospect where he is to develop and giving him a shot when deserving. It worked for Jonas Valanciunas. Why can’t it work for him?

The Raptors need to address the lack of organizational depth they have at the center position. With no true big man on the farm team and Boucher set to be a free agent, Kamagate would be a good player to try and develop as part of their frontcourt rotation.

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