The Toronto Raptors had to wait a very long time to make their line pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, but they managed to snag a potential defensive game changer in Arizona center Christian Koloko. Some were surprised that he managed to slip to Toronto in the second round.
Koloko might be a bit raw on the offensive side of the ball despite having three seasons of collegiate experience, the reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year promises to be one of the best rim protectors Toronto has had in years. He started flexing his defensive muscles in Summer League play.
Precisely what role Koloko will play during his rookie season is still unknown. While he will likely get some time in the G League to slowly get up to speed on offense, a Raptors roster that lacks exceptional size could be forced to turn to Koloko if names like Khem Birch start to disappoint.
The Raptors can take solace in the fact that Koloko will eventually be better than these three players who were picked ahead of him. Toronto will unleash Koloko on the NBA and show the rest of the world what a mistake they made in allowing him to fall to No. 33 overall.
3 rookies Toronto Raptors center Christian Koloko is better than
3. MarJon Beauchamp, Milwaukee Bucks
Beauchamp has tons of potential, but he is as raw as they come. The 21-year-old Beauchamp bounced around between the junior college ranks and the G League Ignite program, eventually riding his 15.1 points per game to a selection at No. 24 overall by Milwaukee.
Beauchamp is going to get lots of Wisconsin Herd time this season, as the combination of the Bucks’ tremendous depth and Beauchamp’s unfinished game will make this year a learning experience. Beauchamp is fresh off shooting 24% from 3-point range on just under three attempts per game.
Toronto Raptors: Christian Koloko will beat out MarJon Beauchamp.
Beauchamp has shown to be an excellent defender at the G League level and might have more versatility than Koloko, but the Cameroonian big man’s excellence in the post is what will ultimately give him the edge over players in Beauchamp’s tier.
Even though Koloko is coming into the league as a bit of a project, he will likely get more NBA minutes as a rookie than a player like Beauchamp, who is viewed as a long-term project for a ready-made contender. All Koloko needs to do to leave Beauchamp in the dust is develop a robust finishing move or two.