The NBA Draft was held in Brooklyn on Thursday night. Just hours before the Philadelphia 76ers selected Markelle Fultz first overall, there were rumours once again surrounding the Raptors. This time it wasn’t about All-Star Kyle Lowry but with big man Jonas Valančiūnas. There were reports prior to the draft that the Raps were looking to move JV and the 23rd pick.
If the #Raptors are looking to trade Jonas Valanciunas with the no. 23 pick we won’t have to see the itty bitty ballers commercial no more.
— JaysRob (@Jabronirob) June 22, 2017
Got chills down my spine thinking about Jonas Valanciunas getting traded
— harsh (@IamHarshDave) June 19, 2017
It didn’t happen. What did happen was the Raptors did pick up an elite combo forward from England.
The Raptors going into the night had the 23rd overall pick. They acquired it and the draft rights to Norman Powell in 2015 in exchange for Greivis Vasquez.
With the pick they selected 19-year-old OG Anunoby. The 6ft 8 Forward went to college in Indiana and was named a preseason All-American by the Sporting News as an IU sophomore. He didn’t play most of the season because he suffered a torn ACL. “I’m feeling great right now,” Anunoby said after the draft “No pain, doing a lot more. I think it should be good for October or November, back on the court. I can jump, shoot, work on ballhandling stuff, passing. It’s been tough because I definitely wanted to be out there with my teammates. It just shows you can’t take it for granted. You never know when you get hurt, how long you’ll be out, stuff like that.”
Coach Dwane Casey compared the young player to a current Raptor. “He is a clone of PJ Tucker.”
Anunoby played just 16 games and started in 10 of them last season and averaged 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds. He didn’t work out with the Raptors prior to the draft but did meet with the team. “It went really well. I met them a couple of times. We have a good relationship. I like the front office a lot.”
Raptors President Masai Ujiri said the club was lucky to get him at 23.
His brother played defensive tackle in the NFL and shared advice about being a professional athlete. “He just talked about how hard you have to work just to stay in the league. It’s fun, but it’s a business and you have to work hard.”
The young player is aware of the Raptors recent struggles and success in the post season and believes he can help take them to the next round. “I think I bring versatile wing defender that can defence multiple positions, and on offense hit open shots, cut to the basket, and then just create havoc on defence.
— DeMarre Carroll (@DeMarreCarroll1) June 23, 2017