2 Young players Raptors should develop, 2 to give up on

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 31: Christian Koloko #35 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 31: Christian Koloko #35 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images /
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The Toronto Raptors might be willing to double down on their long-established core (without Fred VanVleet, of course) as they try to get back to the postseason. Still, the front office has been very upfront about the fact that they are going to place another emphasis on their young players.

Player development was placed back at the forefront with the hiring of Darko Rajakovic. With Scottie Barnes being promised an expanded role and Gradey Dick finishing Summer League on a high note, Toronto will have multiple solid young players to choose from.

However, developing that much talent all at once is impossible. The Raptors need to end up picking a few players that are worth their time and energy to improve while leaving the rest to fend for themselves. This won’t satisfy everyone, but it’s a necessary reality of roster building.

The Raptors have two players that need to get as much developmental attention as possible, and they also would be better off if they built these potential rotation pieces up at the expense of some fringe players that don’t carry the same potential with them.

2 players the Toronto Raptors should develop, 2 they shouldn’t.

Develop: Christian Koloko

While Koloko will be starting just his second pro season at 23 years old, he fell out of the first round last season due to general ambivalence around his overall offensive game. The Raptors likely took him knowing what a work in progress he would be on that end.

Koloko looked like a quality rim protector who already had a solid impact on the Raptors’ defensive style. Koloko’s height and physicality will help him pile up the blocks and rebounds, but Toronto needs to ensure he can develop a package of post moves.

Christian Koloko is worth the Toronto Raptors’ time.

Many of Koloko’s makes came from finished dunks last season. While he did show improvement as the season went on, the need for a better offensive center was so great that the Raptors made a still-contentious trade with the Spurs to acquire Jakob Poeltl.

With Poeltl and Precious Achiuwa in the rotation ahead of Koloko, the Cameroonian native should expect more time with Raptors 905 in the G League. However, if the Raptors see tangible progress from him, Koloko might force his way into Rajakovic’s rotation.