Raptors draft Ja'Kobe Walter and put NBA on notice: Instant reaction, analysis

The pick is in! With the No. 19 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors have selected their shooting guard of the future in Ja'Kobe Walter
Ja'Kobe Walter, 2024 NBA Draft
Ja'Kobe Walter, 2024 NBA Draft / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The Toronto Raptors entered the 2024 NBA Draft with a long list of needs in building out a roster around All-Star forward Scottie Barnes. This summer is primarily about securing the future; the Raptors already agreed to a maximum rookie extension with Barnes, and a new deal with restricted free agent Immanuel Quickley is next on the offseason checklist.

The draft comes first, however, and the Raptors need to find ways to build out the rotation around Barnes and Quickley. Needs coming into the draft started with shooting but also include perimeter defense, center depth, a backup point guard and overall talent to develop.

The Raptors cut through the chaos of an unpredictable draft and came away with a player who checks multiple boxes. With the 19th pick in the 2024 NBA Draft the Toronto Raptors have selected Baylor wing Ja'Kobe Walter

Ja'Kobe Walter could become a key factor in fully unlocking Raptors' stars

The Toronto Raptors have their point guard position locked up, but who will play next to him is still an open question. Ja'Kobe Walter steps in as a strong candidate to fill that role, a player with a lot of pedigree and a skillset that should excel next to Immanuel Quickley and playing off of Scottie Barnes.

The Baylor wing is 6'4" with a 6'10" wingspan, with the athleticism and awareness to excel on defense. On offense he has a promising jumpshot and should be much more efficient in a smaller role in the NBA. He has a very real shot at being the Raptors' starting shooting guard of the future.

Here is what we wrote about Ja'Kobe Walter in the final Raptors Big Board on Wednesday morning:

"Ja’Kobe Walter came into his freshman season at Baylor expecting to prove himself an on-ball star, and he clearly is not. What he may have shown is that his skill set fits well as a 3-and-D wing with some secondary shot creation abilities, a valuable player type if he can commit to the role and something the Toronto Raptors could use next to Immanuel Quickley in the backcourt."

The top player on our Big Board when the Raptors went on the clock was Duke big man Kyle Filipowski, but Walter was No. 2 and was an excellent value with the 19th pick. Walter came into the year as a Top 10 prospect and still boasts a lot of upside.

Walter was a player mocked frequently to the Raptors in the days leading into the draft, and the fit could hardly be better. In our final Mock Draft Roundup this morning both Sam Vecenie of The Athletic and Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer correctly mocked Walter to the Raptors. The fit just made too much sense.

As the Raptors continue to build a new young core they are prioritizing players who can score, shoot and defend, and that's the blueprint to building a winner around Scottie Barnes.

Next. 7 Stars the Toronto Raptors missed drafting by a single pick. 7 Stars the Toronto Raptors missed drafting by a single pick. dark