The Toronto Raptors, as has been the case under Masai Ujiri, are likely coming away from their last two draft classes with tons of hope for the future. Using the No. 4 pick on Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes was accentuated by second-round finds in Dalano Banton and big man Christian Koloko.
Ujiri and Nick Nurse are never going to back down from a developmental challenge, as they are confident in their ability to take someone that hasn’t quite put it all together yet and get them performing at a high level. That has been one of the main drivers of their draft strategy.
As such, Toronto, who is in possession of their first-round pick again following last season’s trade for Thad Young, will likely prioritize traits over Day 1 impact. That philosophy could lead to the Raptors nabbing a Canadian sensation who is only going to get better.
Sam Vecenie of The Athletic’s mock draft had the Raptors, picking at No. 18 overall, selecting Canadian high school phenom Leonard Miller, who recently joined the NBA G League Ignite. Considering how Toronto has its starters locked in, Miller could be an enticing developmental project.
Toronto Raptors 2023 NBA Mock Draft: Leonard Miller has potential.
This is not the first time that Miller has been connected to the Raptors, as many believed that Toronto could use their second-round pick on him last season before he chose to go (semi) pro. Considering his promise shown in high school, Miller will be in the pros soon.
Miller is a 6-10 forward with a 7-3 wingspan that is comfortable handling the rock and making plays as a passer. In other words, he’s the type of player Ujiri would sign 17 of if he had the chance. Miller profiles as an above-average defender and scorer once he gets a few years of refinement.
Miller’s biggest issues right now are both his lack of tremendous jumper mechanics and the fact that he needs to add weight. Luckily, both of these things are issues that can easily be corrected with a few weeks of work in the G League. If he checks those boxes, he could be an ideal Raptor.
Miller is going to be a bit raw, but that will likely not slow down a Raptors team that managed to take a raw Koloko and make him a rotation player instantly. Miller staying home in Canada may be the best thing for the Raptors and his own short-term development.