The FIBA World Cup has captivated the basketball world in the last few weeks, with names like Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Toronto Raptors point guard Dennis Schroder trying everything they can to bring championship glory back to their respective countries.
While most fans are into these games for the spectacle of it all, teams like the Raptors will be watching this tournament with an eye on talent evaluation. The next great Raptors player might be percolating around these ranks and showing off their skills in front of an international audience.
Toronto has been more willing to add talent from unusual players and poach from international leagues than most organizations, and that globetrotting desire might help the Raptors find a potential star in these ranks. The end of the bench could be reinforced, and trade targets could be acquired.
The Raptors need to look at this trio of players, all of whom have flexed their muscles in the World Cup, as impactful names who can come right in and positively impact the team’s rotation. The Raptors would be very proactive if they brought in one of the top performers.
3 FIBA World Cup stars the Toronto Raptors could acquire.
3. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Canada
Alexander-Walker has been on many a hypothetical Raptors trade or free agent target list for quite some time, and Toronto did pass up a chance to sign him in the offseason. While he signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves on a two-year contract, he is by no means locked into the long-term plans.
A native Canadian, Alexander could become a valuable part of Toronto’s rotation. He has shot 38.5% from 3-point range with Canada in World Cup play despite some high volume and a non-insignificant level of attention from opposing defenses. In Darko Rajakovic’s offense, he could be even deadlier.
Will the Toronto Raptors look at Nickeil Alexander-Walker?
The Wolves might need to move some of their bench players if they want to make a new addition at the trade deadline, and Alexander-Walker could have quite a solid market if the 3-point shot he displayed with Canada translates over to the NBA ranks.
Alexander-Walker would not only return home to the Raptors if Masai Ujiri traded for him, but he would become a terrific addition to a bench that is still very much in a formative phase. Shooting is still needed, and the long-limbed NAW might be a solid, cheap solution.