Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors know that the 2023 NBA Draft holds as much value and importance as any draft the Raptors have had in quite some time. They need to make sure that a high-end scorer comes to town and helps revitalize the offense.
Names like Baylor’s Keyonte George have risen to the forefront of Raptors Twitter’s collective consciousness due to his scoring ability, though Kentucky’s Cason Wallace and Arkansas’ Nick Smith have also been connected to the Raptors with varying degrees of seriousness lately.
The Raptors have typically leaned on the best player available mindset in the last few years, and that philosophy helped them land Scottie Barnes. However, the latest mock draft out there has the Raptors making a move that certainly qualifies as a stunner.
For The Win’s latest big mock had the Raptors forgoing all of the best guards available and instead using their choice on Houston forward Jarace Walker. The former top recruit has a style of play that fits in with what Ujiri wants, but is he really the best choice for Toronto at this point?
Will the Toronto Raptors draft Jarace Walker?
Walker averaged 11.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game during his lone season at Houston, helping the Cougars become one of the best teams in the country. After averaging more than one block and steal per game, Walker’s defensive exploits stood out and should translate well to whichever team selects him.
There’s nothing wrong with Walker as a prospect in a vacuum. Actually, his lasting until the No. 13 pick would be a genuine surprise. However, the Raptors very clearly have other needs that must be addressed, and Walker would not help them much in that area. They need someone who can be a threat from 3-point range.
Precious Achiuwa and Chris Boucher are likely to return next season, as is big man Jakob Poeltl. With Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes again sharing the floor for heavy minutes, it will be incredibly hard for whomever the coach is to find ways to get Walker on the floor.
Walker is a tremendous player that will likely end up as a starter for a very long time in the NBA. That doesn’t mean that Toronto should completely eschew position fit in order to add someone that is not going to have a particularly outstanding fit on this collective roster like Walker.