Meet Fardaws Aimaq, a Canadian big who fits the Raptors

Jan 23, 2021; Queens, New York, USA; Utah Valley Wolverines center Fardaws Aimaq (11) Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 23, 2021; Queens, New York, USA; Utah Valley Wolverines center Fardaws Aimaq (11) Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Raptors need to make sure that they address the center position at some point in the offseason. Be it via their first-round pick or finding another undrafted gem, look for Masai Ujiri to prioritize size. If the Raptors want to add another Canadian twist to their roster, Utah Valley star and Vancouver native Fardaws Aimaq makes sense.

Aimaq, who attended Stevenson-London in Richmond, has found a home under the watchful eye of former NBA player Mark Madsen in Orem. Madsen has reportedly been telling scouts that Aimaq is without question capable of playing in the NBA. Considering his stats, it’s easy to see why he is so bullish on Aimaq’s potential.

Aimaq, who declared for the 2021 NBA Draft before returning, led the country with 15.0 rebounds per game. This year, he’s averaging 13.6 boards per game, coming in second behind Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe.

With 19.2 points per game on 49% shooting, Aimaq is evolving on offense. However, he is keeping his college eligibility and looking at transfers while testing the NBA waters.

The Raptors need to take a look at their frontcourt depth and consider making Aimaq one of their next developmental projects. If he is able to translate his college strengths to the NBA, Toronto may be able to land a solid backup big in the undrafted or late second-round market.

Could Fardaws Aimaq come to the Toronto Raptors?

Aimaq was named the WAC Conference Player of the Year, as his ability to clean up on the glass and finish inside helped the Wolverines make some noise. More than just a rebounding merchant, the Mercer transfer won over the media with his defense, during his first season out West.

Aimaq won’t block a ton of shots (1.7 and 1.4 per game over two season), but he has shown an aptitude for interior post defense. That skill showed itself in an upset win over a BYU team that was ranked as the 12th best squad in the country at the time.

Aimaq recorded 24 points, 22 rebounds, five steals, and three blocks in the overtime victory. Cougars center Caleb Loehner went 2-11 shooting in 34 minutes with Aimaq on him for a majority of the game. The level of competition might draw some red flags, but Fardaws showed that he could get it done against some better teams.

Aimaq has some concerning issues around his stock. Aimaq is older than Gary Trent Jr. is, so may some teams be wondering if he has peaked athletically. Does he have enough explosiveness and versatility to stick in a Toronto defense that emphasizes mobility and switchability?

The Raptors have made a habit of turning undrafted players or those who were discarded by most of the league into viable contributors. If they trade back into the second round or are very proactive in the undrafted free agent market, they would be able to get their hands on Aimaq.

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