NBA Mock Draft season is usually a time for Toronto Raptors fans to grind the tape, crunch the numbers, and figure out which player best fits in with their scheme. Unfortunately, Masai Ujiri doesn’t have too many picks to work with this year.
With the Jakob Poeltl trade and Marc Gasol swap giving away control of both their first and second round picks this season, the only that Toronto could manage to obtain a selection without any trades is if their first-rounder falls in the first six picks. Will they be bad enough to have this happen?
If they are, Toronto could still land a franchise cornerstone. While this draft doesn’t have the star power of 2023, there is a trio of players at the top that all appear to be future NBA All-Stars. Toronto would be over the moon if the lottery luck gods smiled on them once again.
After rolling the old Tankathon simulator machine, Toronto managed to jump to the No. 3 pick and land G League star Matas Buzelis. A 7-1 center in Alexander Sarr, a stop shooting guard in Stephon Castle, and a ready-made wing in Justin Edwards were all passed over to take the G League Ignite star.
NBA Mock Draft: Toronto Raptors jump to No. 3, land Matas Buzelis
Buzelis, fellow G league Ignite teammate Ron Holland, and USC point guard Isaiah Collier are widely regarded as the top three prospects in this class in whatever order you choose. In terms of long-term potential, Buzelis might actually have the highest ceiling.
Buzelis can do just about anything a coach could want on the offensive side of the ball. With uncommonly good ball-handling and passing, a 3-point shot that is already NBA quality, and skill at creating his own shot, Buzelis should jump right into the pros and instantly become a problem.
The flaws are clear, unfortunately. Buzelis is listed at 6-10, and his wingspan is right around 6-11. At under 200 pounds, he needs to add at least 20 pounds to stick in the league due to lacking the outlier athleticism to get away with such a skinny frame. His defensive upside is also quite limited.
The Raptors need scoring talent, plain and simple. With a good chunk of their already lackluster offense set to test the free agent market, they need to find cheap alternatives with high ceilings. The floor is low if he doesn’t add weight, but Buzelis should have no trouble scoring in the pros.