Hey folks, we're going to be hosting our inaugural RR "NBA Draft Party" this year and all of you in the Republic are invited to attend and celebrate the selection of yet another Raptors lottery pick. (Would any of you have rather the Raps made the playoffs to watch the LBJ Cavs kick our injured Bosh-less ass harder then the Magic did to the Hawks in round two, thereby surrendering our pick to the Heat?!?!)
Thanks to Hedo's veteran leadership and Triano's skillful coaching, the party will be taking place at our customary RR clubhouse, home to our Raptor Fan Friday game parties and the very best sports bar in all of Toronto: the famous SPORTS CENTRE CAFE located at 49 St. Clair West, 1 block West of Yonge.
We'd like to announce that it'll be open bar and packed with A-list celebrities and dozens of Playboy bunnies and Penthouse Pets... but that'll all be in effect at Altraps' unofficial after-party at the Rail.
In anticipatory preparation (LOL!), here's a quick look at our current Big Board:
#1) EKPE UDOH - PF: 6-10, 240lbs, Age: 22 Baylor (Junior)
Udoh really is the best player available, the best fit for the Raps without Bosh, and the most ready of the potential picks to come in and play/help/start now. If available at #13, easily the best choice. He could crack the rotation right away, might not have the greatest upside but has what the Raptors need right now – ability to crash the boards and play defence. A safe pick.
#2) AVERY BRADLEY - SG: 6-3, 180lbs, Age: 19 Texas (Freshman)
We know the Raps sent a scout last month to Vegas to watch him work out. We also know that following that meeting, not only the Raptors, but several teams (including Indiana who needs a pg) moved Bradley up in their rankings from the mid 20s to the mid-lottery. Not sure, like Udoh if he drops to 13, especially with teams like Detroit, Indy, and Memphis all drafting 5 up from the raps and all of whom would benefit immediately from adding a guard like Bradley. And just in case you needed a reminder: He was the best perimeter defender in the NCAA last year. He was rated higher than John Wall coming out of high school, and he was the top rated player in the country before going to Texas. He has a 6′7? wingspan, and he is an excellent scorer and a good mid-range shooter.
#3) GORDON HAYWARD - SF: 6-8, 200lbs, Age: 20 Butler (Sophomore)
If the Turkoglu rumours are true, and the Raps cannot address the SF position from either of the upcoming trades (ie/ Bosh, Turk, or Calderon) then look for the raps to aggressively pursue a guy like Hayward. Again, much like Udoh and Bradley, Hayward has been linked to several teams ranging from top 10 to mid 20s- but in the #13 range, he is the best available at his position. And don’t let his image fool you. He can score, defend, and is an excellent rebounder for his position. Hayward is the mini-Turk. He could be the guy that we hoped Turkoglu would be when we signed him. A crafty offensive player with improving vision.
#4) PATRICK PATTERSON - PF: 6-8, 223lbs, Age: 21 Kentucky (Junior)
If Udoh, Bradley, and Hayward are all off the board look for the raps to draft a guy like Patterson, who, Chris Denker called, the best fit for this team almost a month ago. A strong defensive game and an inch or two are what’s keeping Patterson from shooting up the charts. The hard work and grit he’s shown scouts has gone some ways in repairing his reputation as a mediocre defender. He’s shown a real ability to knock down the mid-range jumper which will complement his back-to-the-basket game very well. The only real issue is where you play him? At 6′8? he is probably too small to play the 4, but too slow to play the 3. However, knowing Patterson’s personality, he won’t be afraid to work hard to find an answer to this dilemma.
#5) PAUL GEORGE - SF: 6-9, 214lbs, Age: 20 Fresno St. (Sophomore)
George is the latest addition of players to the big board that address the Raptors lack of toughness and athleticism on the defensive end (especially at the wing positions). The knock on George is that he played at a small school and therefore didn’t put up his numbers against top notch competition. However, here is what we know for certain. He is long, athletic, can rebound, attack the rim, shoot the NBA 3, and defend both the 2 guard and small forward positions. If Turkoglu is on his way out, Hayward is already gone, and the Raps don’t have confidence in Patterson’s ability to play the 3, George is the next best SF available in the draft.
Who do you think we'll select with the 13th pick in the draft?