Raptors Cage

Raptors’ 2015 NBA Draft Recap

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

“With the first pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select Karl-Anthony Towns..” The first pick went how everyone had predicted, however, what followed had analysts and fans throwing their mock boards into the garbage. Right off the bat, D’angelo Russell from Ohio State found his way to the Los Angeles Lakers, and Justise Winslow dropped all the way to 10th and landed in South Beach. For Toronto Raptors fans though, their biggest concern, was who Masai Ujiri would decide to grab at the 20th pick.

Right off the bat, the Raptors had major interests in guys like Rondae Hollis Jefferson from Arizona, a strong, explosive athlete and defender. From UCLA, Raptors looked at Kevon Looney, a long-armed athlete, who’s seen as a “Masai-like pick”, and the Notre Dame guard, Jerian Grant, known for his jack-of-all-trades ability, and size at the guard spot.

Again, though, Masai’s second time as the head man in Toronto, he goes off the board a little bit, and drafts Delon Wright, a 6’5 – big guard- point guard from the University of Utah. After Greivis Vasquez was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for a future 1st rounder pick in 2017, and this year’s 46th pick, it added up, and the Raptors filled the need. Unlike Vasquez, and for some points, Lowry, Delon is a terrific defensive player; gets into passing lanes, is a ball-hawk, super lengthy and quick. There’s also an added bonus with his ability to attack the paint, score off the dribble, and improved shooting over his time in college.

The Raptors struggled immensely defensively at the guard spot, which is now addressed with the selection of Delon Wright. Versatility has always been a big part for the Raptors, and Wright has major size to play alongside Lowry as well, and at times, could play the three. Masai has done an impressive job in this draft, low-key moves for future high-ceiling assets, while opening up a bit more cap for the Raptors; a cap that’s already quite big with all the expiring contracts this off-season. This might have people thinking that Masai will find a way into the LaMarcus Aldridge sweepstakes.

Just in case, there are any worries the Toronto Raptors made this pick in case a Lowry deal was in the shadows:

With the draft-night acquired 46th pick, Masai and the Raptors’ staff decided to take Norman Powell, a shooting guard from UCLA.  Powell is a slashing guard, who had some terrific moments in the past college season handling the basketball. Not much of a shooter, not great size for the two guard at around 6’4, but solid potential defensively.

Overall, this has to be considered a successful draft for the Toronto Raptors, who sent out Vasquez for some future assets, cleared up cap space (nearly $5-$6 million not including Delon Wright’s rookie scale contract), brought in the Raptors back-up point guard for the future with terrific defensive capabilities, and Powell who is quite intriguing. Masai Ujiri mentioned earlier on in the month that in a way, he “messed up” with the composition of the roster; already he’s made touch and change for the upcoming season’s roster, and future.

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