3 Duke players the Raptors should be watching as future draft prospects

Kyle Filipowski and Jared McCain, Duke Blue Devils
Kyle Filipowski and Jared McCain, Duke Blue Devils / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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No. 1: Kyle Filipowski, big

The modern NBA isn't about getting smaller; it's about getting more skilled at every position. The newest wave of superstar players are centers who can stretch the court but also bring rim protection, ball skills and passing ability. Chet Holmgren, Victor Wembanyama and Alperen Sengun are this next wave of future stars, coming after the likes of Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid.

The Duke Blue Devils may have just that sort of player in star big man Kyle Filiposwki, a preseason All-American and Duke's best player. "Flip" returned for his sophomore season to improve his draft stock and has done so, showing off a more confident jumper and better positioning and strength on defense. At this point, it would be a surprise to see him fall out of the lottery, and he is likely going to be a Top-10 pick.

Filipowski doesn't have one specific, inevitable skill. He isn't a pure shooter like Dirk Nowitzki, nor a post masher like Karl Malone, nor a passing savant like Nikola Jokic. What Filipowski brings is a little bit of all of it; he is a smart, skilled player who can allow a team to play virtually any style of offense or defense around him.

The seven-footer could step onto the Raptors and pair with Kelly Olynyk off the bench in a hyper-skilled shooting frontcourt, or he could grow into the replacement for Jakob Poeltl at the center position and provide a floor space next to Scottie Barnes. He would be a fascinating selection for Toronto if they keep their first-round pick.

It's worth keeping a close eye on the Duke Blue Devils over the next month, as one or more of those plyers could end up north of the border by next year.

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