1. Walker Kessler, Auburn
Kessler was buried on the depth chart with North Carolina, but he stepped on the gas pedal after coming over to Bruce Pearl’s Tigers. Kessler will be a talented shot-blocker with room to grow on the offensive end in the first few seasons.
Kessler averaged 11.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, but his true value lies in his shot-blocking. Kessler is not going to average 4.6 blocks per game in the pros, but the fact that he was routinely shutting down the most advanced SEC offenses with his frame is an encouraging sign.
Walker Kessler’s defense is too good for the Toronto Raptors to ignore.
Kessler is likely going to be gone by the time pick No. 33 comes around, so Toronto would be much better off trading up for him if they really want his services. They will incur a bigger financial burden, but it’s worth it to bring on a player of his stature and caliber on defense.
Kessler doesn’t have tremendous lateral athletic ability, but his size more than makes up for it on the defensive end. Kessler likely won’t be a role player in his first season due to his substandard finishing ability for a big man his size, but it shouldn’t take long to get him up to speed.