With the ninth pick in the 2009 SBNation Mock Draft, the Toronto Raptors, represented by the lovely Holly MacKenzie from everywhere But SBNation (Author of the Post Up @ SLAMonline andThe Score's Court Surfing blog according to her Twitter bio) select... (Drum Roll please)
With the ninth pick in the 2009 NBA draft, the Toronto Raptors select Demar DeRozan. Honestly, if this happens, I'm fairly certain Bryan Colangelo --for once in his life-- will be unable to contain his joy, losing the suave sophistication he wears so well while fist pumping the air and giving thanks to the basketball Gods for giving him a break. A b-i-i-i-i-i-g break. In other words, I'm almost positive that DeRozan will be long gone, but this is how the mock draft we have in front of us has shaken out.
At the end of the Raptors disappointing season, it was clear that an explosive scorer at the wing position was needed. All year long, I'd made the case that the Raptors needed a player like Trevor Ariza. A slasher who could get to the rim while also being a long and lanky defender. Enter DeRozan, is there another player in this draft who fits the bill like he does?
A high-flyer, with a 38.5-inch vertical. The ability to play both the three and four spot. A slasher who will play both above the rim and below it. A young guy who not only takes pride in defense but gets excited about it. That's our guy. DeRozan quite possibly has the most upside of any player in the draft. Check out this quote from a recent interview with SLAM magazine to see just one small reason why he has GM's salivating over the thought of his potentially dropping in the draft, "One thing I'll bring to the table that some might not realize is defense. I love playing defense now. In my freshman year, Tim got me to play better defense and now I love defense. So I just want to get down on defense, lock up." The six-foot-six, 211-pound DeRozan is going to raise a lot of eyebrows next year and is going to make his team better. Defensive-minded Marc Iavaroni would be over the moon working with him. Adding his athleticism to a Raptors team that wants to run (while focusing on defense first, Iavaroni stresses), is the perfect fit and could begin to help the pieces of the puzzle fall back into place.
And if another team figures out that he'd be an even better fit for their squad and snatches him first, the Raptors can listen to their fans and select Jonny "I'm basically Canadian" Flynn (Scott's Note: Can this be his new nickname?), a flashy point guard who could learn under former Villanova Wildcat and Raptor, Alvin Williams.
On the clock: Brew Hoop.