Blake Wesley could be a dream Raptors trade-up candidate

LOUISVILLE, KY - JANUARY 22: Blake Wesley #0 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - JANUARY 22: Blake Wesley #0 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have not likely ruled out a trade-up into the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft. Even though there are more financial obligations involved with acquiring a first-round pick as opposed to a second-rounder at No. 33 overall, a prospect like Notre Dame’s Blake Wesley is worth moving up for.

Toronto loves to add bigger guards, and the thought of bringing in a 6-5 dynamo with experience at both spots could appeal to Masai Ujiri and Nick Nurse. Wesley has some kinks to work out, but a Raptors team in need of more guard depth would fall in love with Wesley if he ended up north of the border.

Playing as both a playmaking lead option and an off-ball slasher for the Fighting Irish, Wesley showed that he is designed for a very long professional career. Acquiring him might be harder without a first-round pick, as making a move back near the top 20 could be the only way to guarantee a shot at him.

Wesley has had workouts with lottery or lottery-adjacent teams like the Wizards and Atlanta Hawks over the last few days, showing that he is valued as a late first-round pick with the potential to slip into the top 20. It would take a significant investment from Ujiri and the Raptors to get him, but there’s a lot to like about Wesley.

Will the Toronto Raptors trade up for Blake Wesley?

What really stands about with regards to Wesley’s game is how advanced he appears to be as a scorer and distributor. An unselfish player that makes all sorts of unusual shots when called upon, Wesley profiles as a high-end backup in Year 1.

Ujiri likely won’t consider drafting you unless you’re a quality athlete, and Wesley brings a springiness to his game that is evident on both ends. With 14.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game despite a slow start in South Bend, Wesley has proven his quality on the collegiate level.

Wesley can play a bit out of control sometimes, as he makes just 40% of his shots overall and 30% of his 3-pointers due to questionable shot selection. Wesley has had some solid moments on defense, but it will likely take some time before he ends up as a positive NBA defender.

The similarities between Wesley and Gary Trent Jr. are not hard to miss, even if Trent came into the league as a better shooter. From a physical point of view, there are very few fringe lottery prospects who would be as much of an instant success in Toronto as Wesley.

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