The Toronto Raptors have the chance to do something really special with their first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. After a season in which the team was among the worst in the league from beyond the arc, some new blood is needed in the worst way.
The Raptors might need to look to the Big East Conference, which spawned two of the four Final Four teams, as a source of cheap young talent that can plug one of the many needs which arose last year and helped cripple their season at the worst [possible times.
The Raptors might stay at No. 13 as they try to add some shooting and young creation to the mix, but the idea of trading down to recoup some extra draft picks makes a ton of sense. No matter where they pick, the Big East remains a very fruitful proving ground for Toronto to plunder.
These three prospects range between intriguing role players, scorers that can make an immediate two-way impact, and potential stars that Toronto would be thrilled about if they slide to them. Don’t be surprised if one of these guys is wearing Raptors red in the near future.
Toronto Raptors mock draft: 3 Big East prospects to consider.
3. Colby Jones, SG, Xavier
The recently declared Jones was the engine that made the Musketeers’ offense go this season, and it will be incredibly unlikely that he is available at the beginning of the second round. Toronto’s bench needs juice with or without Gary Trent Jr. on the team, and Jones can help provide that.
Jones averaged 15.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game this season, getting to the rim with ease and proving to the rest of the conference that he is an above-average scoring talent who needs to be taken seriously. Jones could rise with a strong NBA combine showing.
Toronto Raptors draft: Colby Jones is a nice scorer.
Jones can score, but his relative lack of proven 3-point shooting might give some pause for thought. While he could be an interesting point-wing who handles the ball, Jones’ playmaking stands to improve, perhaps due to a general lack of reps in that role.
The Raptors’ reputation as elite developers of talent has taken some hits in recent months, but Jones seems like the type of player they have often had success with. With just a few offensive tweaks, Jones would have the potential to lead the Raptors’ bench.