Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors have adhered to a very strict philosophy in the last decade of drafting. Most of their NBA Draft picks have been made off the notion that drafting the best athlete possible was a more effective use of their resources than drafting someone for immediate need.
While many mock drafters and Raptors fans are pleading for the organization to use one of their picks on a guard that can make an impact as a scorer, Ujiri is not going to jeopardize the possibility of adding someone who fits his vision for a player that might not have as high of a ceiling.
While this has led to some flops over the years, names like OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and Scottie Barnes all stand out as switchable defenders that were drafted and developed by Toronto’s own sterling player development system. Ujiri will try to add to that in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Any one of these three players, be them toolsy prospects at the end of the draft that can be acquired by trading back into the second round or standouts who could go at No. 13 overall, might be the next excellent Raptors player with an emphasis on versatility on the defensive end.
3 switchable prospects Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors could draft.
3. Jordan Walsh, Arkansas
On a team that featured Nick Smith, Anthony Black, and Ricky Council, it was very hard for Walsh to show off his offensive talents. His 7.1 points and 3.9 assists per game belie the fact that he was one of the main reasons the Razorbacks were able to rip through the SEC.
Walsh’s standout trait is his tenacious defense, as he was tasked with guarding multiple future NBA prospects at multiple positions. Undeterred by this ask, Walsh showed excellent awareness, a penchant for causing takeaways, and a nice physical element to his game.
Can the Toronto Raptors get Jordan Walsh?
His offensive shortcomings might be just a tad overhyped, but the league likely won’t use such a premium asset on a player that won’t guarantee he can come right into the NBA and score. As a result, Walsh coming to Toronto hinges on them acquiring a second-round pick or hitting the UDFA market hard.
Walsh, who officially kept his name in the draft recently, will find himself with an NBA team next season, but not everyone will be willing to be as patient with him as Toronto will be. If this team is going to give Malachi Flynn a fourth season, there’s no way that they won’t hand Walsh every chance to prove himself in the pros.