To start, I’ll say that you can find Scott’s immediate reaction to the selection of Terrence Ross here, you can listen to a Draft night podcast with Scott, Oliver Macklem and I here, and you can find my Prospect Profile of Terrence Ross from a few weeks back here.
Now let’s get into my take on Draft night 2012 for the Toronto Raptors.
- First off, I can’t express how disappointed I was in the fact that Harrison Barnes, Damian Lillard and Dion Waiters were all selected in the top-seven. I won’t say I was all that surprised, but I was certainly disappointed. I would have been real happy with one of Waiters or Lillard, but the thought of Barnes falling to us, which I’ve been stressing since Lottery night would be the best-case scenario for me, was tantalizing. The most heart-breaking part was seeing Barnes go No. 7, meaning the Raptors lost the chance to draft a potential star on a coin flip. A coin flip. Even worse, the Warriors put on an epic tanking display to finish the season, and the Basketball Gods rewarded them for it. Also, if you want more reason to dislike Andre Drummond, think of it this way: If Drummond had a more reputable work ethic and inclination to get better, he probably goes top-seven, and Barnes falls to Toronto.
- In Terrence Ross, the Raptors get a player who can shoot, rebound and defend well at the wing positions. He’s a good athlete, he gets after it on the floor and all indications are that he’s the kind of young player that truly strives to get better. Do I think the Raptors landed a potential superstar? Absolutely not. Do I think the Raptors landed a potential All Star? Probably not, but I wouldn’t rule it out completely. Do I think the Raptors landed a solid young prospect who can be a contributing piece for many years? Yes.
In terms of fans clamoring for someone else or just generally complaining about the pick, think about the 10 guys I profiled for RaptorBlog, plus Drummond and Barnes.
Waiters, Lillard and Barnes were off the board. Drummond is probably going to be a frustrating “project.” Besides Ross, that left Austin Rivers, Jeremy Lamb, Kendall Marshall, Terrence Jones, Perry Jones III, Moe Harkless and John Henson. Can you really tell me that you’re so sure one or any of those guys is going to be a better NBA player than Terrence Ross? No, you can’t, and neither can I, which is why I find it hilarious that people are complaining about passing up on a guy like Rivers as if the Raps just passed on a surefire superstar. Maybe one of those guys will blow Terrence Ross away, but I’m not convinced there is enough separation within that group of players to be too upset or too excited one way or another.
- One argument that makes sense is that if the Raptors were going to draft Ross, who would likely be available outside the top-10, why not trade down in the Draft to get an established player and a later Lottery pick. Could the Raptors have put together a package that included the No. 8 pick to Houston (who reportedly had their eyes on Drummond) in exchange for one of the Rockets’ later picks and point guard Kyle Lowry? Probably not. Here’s the thing, you get the feeling Bryan Colangelo is going to leave no stone unturned in his attempt to better this team this Summer, so do you honestly believe these things weren’t considered? If the Raps didn’t move down, it’s probably because Colangelo and co. didn’t think it was worth it, not because you know more about the ins and outs of NBA management than they do, okay?
- The fan-reaction at the Season Seat Holder Draft Party (which was much more casual than last year, as in hot dogs and hamburgers at Maple Leaf Square instead of gourmet food inside Real Sports) was actually kind of interesting. There was a noticeable buzz when Waiters went No. 4. There was nervousness went Lillard went No. 6. There was obvious deflation and face-palms when Barnes went No. 7 (again…coin flip!). In the minutes leading up to Toronto’s selection, people around me yelled things like “Not Drummond” and booed camera shots of Austin Rivers while chanting “overrated.” One guy behind me actually shouted “Come on, Terrence Ross,” though I assume that’s because he saw on twitter that Ross was about to be chosen.
- Toronto may be the Centre Of The Universe, but the NBA Draft actually continued past No. 8, and the Raptors made a couple more selections in the second round. Baylor’s Quincy Acy is the definition of a “workhorse” who will never be out-hustled. I admire his work ethic and his abundance of energy and think he is tailor-made to be a solid bench contributor. However, many, including myself, feel that Acy’s teammate Quincy Miller was actually the best player available at the time, and ESPN’s John Hollinger was among the most perplexed.
Also, Quincy Acy over Quincy Miller continues a WTF night for the Raptors.
— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) June 29, 2012
While I respect Hollinger’s NBA opinion and his plethora of interesting stats, and thought the tweet was funny, I’m not quite sure how much of a Draft guy he is. For example, he also tweeted that Ross was 27th on his board, which seems a little ridiculous considering most mocks and draft sites pegged him between 10 and 20.
With their 56th pick, the Raptors shunned names like Machado, Jones, Buford, Sims, Green and Aldemir to go with Croatian forward Tomislav Zubcic. I won’t pretend to know anything about this man, but ESPN’s Chad Ford wrote that “Zubcic is a long point-forward who can shoot the 3 and bring the ball up the floor. He needs to get stronger and he hasn’t produced yet at the highest level, but he’s a big upside pick for the Raptors.” In all honesty, I’ll be surprised if we ever see him on the Air Canada Centre court, but if you watched the second round of the Draft, you’d see that the Raptors weren’t the only team to go Euro.
- From all the post-Draft interview footage I watched of Terrence Ross, Dwane Casey and Bryan Colangelo, a few things stood out. First, Casey mentioning that he’s actually watched Ross since the lockout, when he viewed a University of Washington practice. Secondly, Bryan Colangelo mentioning that Ross could push DeMar DeRozan in practice. Heading into his fourth season, DeRozan will not be protected and given the benefit of the doubt for much longer. He’s shown signs of becoming a very good NBA shooting guard, but has also shown signs of major inconsistency. I will be very interested to see both how Ross’ presence affects and hopefully motivates DeRozan, as well as how the two youngsters work together.
I liked Ross’ response to what Raptors fans can expect in the coming years: “highlights.” Hey, maybe he’s got some of that Austin Rivers swag after all.
- Ross and Acy met the T.O. media for the first time on Friday. With that, focus immediately shifts to Free Agency and the official off-season. If you’re wondering about Steve Nash these days, there’s this:
The Toronto Raptors will make a hard push to sign Steve Nash, according to sources. That’s one reason Toronto didn’t deal #8 for Kyle Lowry.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 29, 2012
And then there’s this:
Shifting to free agency: Hearing Raptors want to park no less than a five-deep contingent in Manhattan to woo Steve Nash as soon as allowed
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 29, 2012