The Toronto Raptors looked like a team that could challenge in the Eastern Conference for a while during the 2014-2015 regular season. But the franchise couldn’t continue its consistent play long enough, and eventually, it all came to a swift end after getting swept by the Washington Wizards in the first round of the playoffs.
Toronto entered draft night with the 20th overall selection, and the Raptors chose to go with a backcourt move in taking Utah point man Delon Wright. At the time, Toronto’s move was a questionable one given its backcourt roster, but once it was announced that the Raptors would be trading backup point guard Greivis Vasquez, the move was one that made a lot of sense for the Canadian franchise.
A 6’6” point guard in the NBA is not a bad thing to have, and that’s what Toronto will be getting with Wright at the helm. Of course, he’ll be in the second slot behind Kyle Lowry, but that should give Wright plenty of time to learn and improve his game. He’s the type of player that will do pretty much everything on the court, whether that be making the right pass in traffic, scoring at the rim, or even grabbing a good chunk of rebounds. He’s the perfect type of player for what Toronto needs.
While the Raptors didn’t have a selection in the second round, they were able to pick up UCLA shooting guard Norman Powell in the Vasquez trade to Milwaukee.
Powell is only a 6’4” shooting guard, but here’s the thing: He has a 6’11” wingspan. That’s simply not something you can teach, and his size will certainly help him be an offensive threat at all times.
Graphic via sltrib
Looking Ahead at the Raptors’ Future
It would surprise a lot of people if Wright turns out to be a bust. Again, his all-around game is what will allow him to succeed, as he’s more than just the average pass and score point guard. Wright does so many other things well that he will be an extremely valuable asset for this Toronto team this season and in future seasons.
If Wright can step on the floor right away and be a factor – which he should be able to do – then Toronto’s backcourt will be a whole lot of fun to watch at times.
And although Powell was a second round pick, he’s the kind of player that could go either way in terms of exceeding expectations or going below them. His wingspan will help his smaller size for a guard, and while defense could certainly be an issue, he can help this team offensively if he can start to get into a rhythm right away.
Toronto didn’t have a flashy draft, and it didn’t do anything crazy. But guess what? Sometimes you don’t have to do that in order to build a championship team. The Raptors aren’t quite at that level yet, but the Wright addition could give them a solid backcourt for years to come.
Graphic via sportsnet