Photo Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler, NBAE/Getty Images
There has been much hype and excitement from Raptors fans for the upcoming 2021 NBA Draft Thursday night. Most of the excitement has been surrounding the coveted fourth-overall pick the Raptors possess, with the chance to draft a franchise altering player.
But with all the excitement over the fourth pick, some fans might forget that the Raptors also hold the 46th and 47th picks in the second round. The Raptors acquired these picks from Utah and Sacramento via trades that involved former Raptors Terence Davis and Matt Thomas at the 2021 trade deadline.
With these back-to-back picks, the Raptors will look to select a pair of key prospects that could hopefully blossom into solid NBA talent. The Raptors are known for finding and developing young prospects into great talent through their widely recognized player development program around the league.
The second round looks to be filled with a wide variety of potential talent that Toronto can choose from. The Raptors will want to focus on selecting players that address their positional needs heading into the 2022 NBA season, including the need for larger bodies and depth a the wing position. Let’s look at some the players who the Raptors could potentially target with these back-to-back picks:
- Neemias Queta – Centre – Utah State
Queta stands at 7’0 tall with a 7’4 wingspan and averaged 14.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in his junior season at Utah State. His size and defensive presence are something the Raptors are looking for, as the Portuguese-born big could be a dominant force.
2. Amar Sylla, – Power Forward – Oostende (Belgium)
Sylla is a 6’9 forward with lots of raw potential thanks to his 7’2 wingspan and dynamic mobility. The Senegalese-born player spent time in the Belgian Pro Basketball League and is drawing similar comparisons to Pascal Siakam for his offensive handling and length. Masai and the Raptors scouts may want to take a chance on Sylla’s projected long term upside.
3. Jericho Sims – Centre – Texas
Sims could be another potential prospect for the Raptors as a high level rebounder and strong force on both ends of the floor. The senior out of Texas averaged 7.7 boards and is an efficient scorer close to the rim.
4. Sandro Mamukelashvili – Centre – Seton Hall
Sandro Mamaukelashvili is an offensive talent for his size, with shooting range, good ball handling ability and ability the to pass the ball well. The 6’11 senior has the size of a centre and offensive ability of a point guard that could entice the Raptors to take him.
- Vrenz Bleijenbergh – Small Forward – Belgium
Vrenz Bleijenberg is a large wing body standing at 6’10. For such a large frame, he has great mobility and excellent passing ability. He seems to have a lot of upside despite not being a hyped international player. His offensive versatility along with his length could add a unique edge to the wing position for the Raptors.
2. Kessler Edwards – Small Forward – Pepperdine
Edwards is a widely talented forward who is projected to be a floor-spacing , 3&D wing. His consistent shooting ability from deep along with his 6’8 size and agility potentially make him a reliable two-way option for the Raptors at NBA level.
3. Herb Jones – Small Forward – Alabama
The Raptors could be a good fit for Herb Jones, a 6’8 small forward won both SEC’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in 2021. He averaged 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. His height, length and athletic ability makes him a versatile two way option the Raptors can add to their wing depth as arguably one of the best defenders in the second round.
4. Joe Wieskamp – Shooting Guard – Iowa
Wieskamp is a large shooting guard at 6’7 who has a special talent in hitting the 3pt shot and driving the lane. Shooting at 46.2 % from deep, Wieskamp’s shooting range and efficiency make him a desirable threat at the NBA level. His athletic ability, size, and accurate shot are something the Raptors will definitely want in the coming years to add to the team’s wing depth and scoring.
5. AJ Lawson – Shooting Guard – South Carolina
The Raptors will also consider some home-grown talent with AJ Lawson. The Brampton, Ontario native is a 6’7 shooting guard with great athleticism, energy on the defensive end, and shot creating ability with a high ceiling. The Raptors could take a chance on Lawson as he could be added to a short list of Canadians to join the hometown team.
With Jalen Suggs looking to be the easy choice as the projected fourth pick in the first round, the Toronto Raptors have to make some tough decisions with back to back picks in the mid-second round. We will get the chance to see who the Raptors take on draft night with the second round picks that hopefully turn out to be diamonds in the rough for the franchise’s future.