With the unpredictability of the 2012 NBA Draft (outside of consensus No. 1 pick Anthony Davis), I figure there is a group of about 10 players that might be realistic options for the Raptors at No. 8, assuming Toronto still holds the No. 8 pick come Draft night.

We’ll be rolling out our prospect profiles of these 10 players over the next couple of weeks, but for now, let’s take a look at some notes on the players after Thursday and Friday’s NBA Draft Combine. Between watching parts of the Combine on a surprisingly clear online feed and sifting through online reports and twitter timelines, here’s what I’ve come up with:

Dion Waiters – The biggest news to emerge from the Combine was that Syracuse guard Dion Waiters had cancelled all of his workouts, prompting the obvious speculation that a team had given him a guarantee they’d draft him if he was still on the board. The Raptors were one of a few teams rumoured to be the team that made the promise, but that report has since died down, with Jonathan Givony, who we all know from Draft Express, tweeting the Suns at No. 13 may have made the promise.

Harrison Barnes – While people’s opinion of Barnes’ combine performance itself seems mixed, most reports over the last couple of days state that the Cavaliers might not let the Tar Heel slip past No. 4, so my pipe-dream of him somehow falling to eighth is probably just that…a dream. Remember that in last week’s episode of RaptorBlog Radio, Givony mentioned that the Cavs have been high on Barnes since last year.

Damian Lillard – The guy I’ve been saying is the sleeper of this Draft for months was reportedly one of the most impressive prospects at the Combine. Reports indicate Lillard completed his drills in solid fashion and was one of the better interviews as well. Most impressive of all though, is that the 6-2 point guard measured a 40-inch vertical. The more I watch, the more I read, the more I study, the more I think Lillard is the guy I want. Unfortunately, like Barnes, I’m becoming increasingly worried that the Weber State product won’t be available at No. 8.

Perry Jones III – While it has to have been expected given his exceptional athleticism and NBA-ready body, Perry Jones III dazzled some people at the Combine. Unfortunately, the criticisms of Jones’ intangibles can’t really be dispelled during a Combine workout, so I’d be interested in knowing if we really learned anything new about the Baylor forward this week.

Jeremy Lamb – Lamb was one of a group of guards who didn’t take part in Combine drills. He apparently thinks top-five is a possibility. To me, Lamb is the guard’s equivalent of UCONN teammate Andre Drummond. While quite a few people think he is a strong option for Toronto at eight, I’ll be disappointed if that’s the result.

Moe Harkless – The St. John’s product is another one of those rising sleepers in this Draft, and according to Alex Kennedy of Hoops World, “Harkless helped himself on Thursday” by “shooting the ball extremely well .”

Terrence Jones – The most relevant news/reports about Jones to come out of the combine is that he will be in competition with Perry Jones III for Golden State’s selection at No. 7, just before the Raptors’ selection. The Joneses will go at it for the Warriors on Monday.

Other prospects to keep an eye on, and three that we will be previewing in the coming weeks along with the seven above, are Washington shooting guard Terrence Ross, Duke guard Austin Rivers and UNC point guard Kendall Marshall.

Here’s a complete list of 2012 Combine measurements.

Comments (18)

  1. My everlasting feeling on TO’s prospects, once again perfectly summarized via Seinfeld:

    JERRY: I gotta go meet Pam.

    GEORGE: Oh, the bookstore girl. How’s that goin’?

    JERRY: Okay. I’m just not ga-ga over her. For once I’d like to be ga-ga.

  2. Among cbssports.com’s “losers” of the draft combine:

    3) Jeremy Lamb – He sat next to Bradley Beal on Thursday morning, watching the shooting guards who elected to participate in the combine, and looked as though he would have rather been anywhere else. Lamb has talent, but he always appears disinterested. According to sources, it carried over to the interviews as well.

  3. It sounds like Austin Rivers got a promise as well from someone with a mid to late lottery pick.

    I’m surprised at how many of these mid lottery guys are more than happy to shut themselves down when you’d think that the financial incentive to work out for everyone so they can be picked as high as possible would prevent them from doing so.

    • Right. It kind of makes me question how much some of these guys actually care about their NBA careers, or if they’re just happy that they’ve finally made it and feel like they don’t have to try as hard now.

      • wouldn’t you rather play for a better team?

        • Of course I would want to play for a good team, if it meant I could make an impact right away.

          But as a rookie, under a rookie contract, a better team is not necessarily the most important thing. I would first want to put myself in a position where I can gaurantee myself another contract afterwards. You may not be able to do that if your stuck in a deep teams rotation.

  4. It appears that some are trying to cherry pick where they spend the next 5 years of their lives.

    For some people, becoming a rich man in a location of your choosing is better than becoming a slightly richer man and being forced to go somewhere you don’t want to be.

    The problem for players like Waiters trying to pick Phoenix (presumably) as his destination is that he is possibly good enough to go 8th, so he would reallly have to look bad for 4 more teams below us to pass on him as well. The only way to accomplish this now is to look like a dick in your interviews, or just cancel all of your interviews/workouts.

    • Could be. But the difference between 8th pick and 13th pick is about 600-700k per year. Put that on a 4-year rookie contract and that’s potentially passing up 3M. A lot of money to pass up.

      But then again, if you end up on a team like Phoenix you may gaurantee yourself a much higher contract once the rookie contract is up.

    • Except that it doesn’t really work that way. Players still get picked regardless of whether they worked out for teams or not.
      Colangelo has even said that Waiters is in the mix for them at #8

    • Does it really matter when you live when you’re a millionaire ?? I don’t get some of these guys

  5. David Aldridge thinks TO will focus on a F:

    The Raptors have put some pieces in place, and if they get center Jonas Valanciunas over next season, they’ll have two-thirds of their frontcourt set, with Valanciunas joining 2006 first-round pick Andrea Bargnani. The last one-third should come in June. Harkless would make sense here if he’s still on the board, though he’d be making the transition from power forward in college to small forward in the pros. Jones would be doing the same thing, but he’s proven to be a better 3-point shooter in college than Harkless was. Sullinger would be a safe pick; the Raptors have thought about a frontcourt with the 7-foot Bargnani at the three spot.

  6. I’m with ya buddy, I really hope Lillard drops, he looks like a a perfect back up combo guard and future starter at point. He looks like a much more athletic and all around better jared bayless

    • More athletic then Bayless Will?! LOL are you on blow? Why because he’s taller and can jump higher?! When non-atheletes say stupid things like this I get annoyed. Name me 5 PG’s faster than Bayless….you cant….cause as far as baseline to baseline he’s one of th fastest gaurds in the league and has a better jump shot than Lillard. Im not saying Lillard isnt good, but to compare him to someone like Bayless who is now what 3 years deep into his career is dumb because I’ll take someone who is still considered a good young prospect with NBA experience over a rookie anyday. Key example: James Johnson getting traded to the Raps . Worked out pretty well wouldnt you agree? Anyways: Sign Nash, trade Jose, Ed Davis, Kleiza(or next year first round) for Rudy Gay and Memphis’ first round pick this year. Thats a front court with like a 6’10/6’11 avg height. Raps could be best team defensively next year, not too mention a huge upgrade on offense cause we’ll finally have someone who could create their own shot cause we traded one of the only 2 players on the squad who could (barbosa/ other being bayless)

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