NBA mock draft: Raptors linked to 3 different high-end guards

The Toronto Raptors are locked into the No. 13 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, giving Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster a chance to add a legitimate game-changer. What makes their job even easier is that the team’s needs have been clear as day for some time now.

The Raptors’ lack of offensive pizzazz, specifically as it relates to their backcourt, is what will make them one of the more interesting teams in the lottery. This range is overflowing with potential game-changers to add to the roster.

ESPN had the Raptors picking a familiar name in Arkansas guard Nick Smith, who was regarded as a Top 5 pick in some circles before the season, yet has slipped due to some health concerns. Like many mock drafters out there, Toronto is expected to select a dynamic guard.

The Athletic believes the Raptors will use their pick on Kentucky guard Cason Wallace, while SB Nation went in a different direction and linked Duke wing Dariq Whitehead to the Raptors. Any one of these three prospects could constitute a successful day at the office for Webster and Ujiri.

NBA mock draft: Toronto Raptors add Nick Smith, Dariq Whitehead

Smith has been a popular Raptors pick despite the fact his lone collegiate season was marred by injuries. At his best, Smith has a ceiling that very few non-Wemby prospects in this class can touch on the offensive side of the ball. As a point guard or off-ball scorer, Smith can get buckets.

Wallace seems like the type of player who would thrive in Toronto, as he is an excellent shooter and on-ball defender. With or without Fred VanVleet returning to the fold, the Raptors would be wise to add him, immediately landing their point guard of the future and Sixth Man of today.

Whitehead is another injury-prone top recruit with disappointing stats in college, but his development into an elite shooter was a welcome surprise. With some near-elite wing defense and a refined offensive game that showed up all the time on his high school tape, Whitehead could thrive in Toronto.

The mocks all seem to have a common theme, as they all involve Toronto using their capital on a player that can move into the backcourt picture and immediately become a contributor. Of course, Toronto must also check the long-term box and figure out if any of that trio can sustain a high level of play for a decade.