Raptors take promising international wing in 2023 NBA Mock Draft

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 01: Toronto rapper Drake speaks with Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 01: Toronto rapper Drake speaks with Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors mock draft predictions are already flying all over the place now that the season is officially one-quarter of the way through the season. Even the most optimistic Raptors fan can see that this team has some very clear holes that will obstruct success.

While some teams draft for need, Masai Ujiri has made a career out of finding players that provide value and a fit within his very unique scheme. Players like Dalano Banton and Christian Koloko are in Toronto partially because of their length and mobility on defense.

The Raptors, at the time of writing, have possession of their first-round pick, which could help them net another contributor who stays with the team for the next few years in a prominent role. Rather than go back to the collegiate route, Toronto may opt for someone down under.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has the Raptors positioned to use the No. 19 overall pick on Rayan Rupert, a French wing who is playing with the NBL’s New Zealand Breakers. Considering how Ousmane Dieng went in the lottery after his year in Auckland, Rupert may end up getting a similar level of hype.

Toronto Raptors mock draft: Rayan Rupert fits the mold.

Rupert is an alum of the INSEP Academy in France, where former NBA players like Tony Parker and Boris Diaw also originated from. Given his 6-7 height, 7-3 wingspan, and solid defensive ability, some have compared him to ultra-reliable Phoenix Suns wing Mikal Bridges.

Rupert is already a plus defender who is going to be a nuisance right away. With solid athletic ability and a 3-point shot that will be professional quality eight out of the box, Rupert might not be as much of a developmental gamble as Dieng was last year.

Despite having Raptors-like measurables, Rupert is not a terrific rebounder for a player his size, though that might come by adding a few pounds. Rupert lacks offensive creation skills at the moment, but that has not often dissuaded the Raptors from taking a long, lanky prospect.

The Raptors drafted Banton and Koloko with the goal of developing them while gradually giving them small morsels of rotation time, and that could be the formula that sets Rupert up for success. Ujiri will not bend on his formula for team-building, and that will likely make the promising Rupert a favorite of Raptors scouts.

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