The 2010 SB Nation NBA Mock Draft is still(!) underway, with each SB Nation blogger making selections for their respective teams. Raptors HQ, SB Nation's Toronto Raptors blog, checks in to make the thirteenth overall selection in this year's mock.
With the thirteenth overall pick in the 2010 SB Nation NBA Mock Draft, the Toronto Raptors have selected Paul George, small forward, Fresno State Bulldogs.
Franchise explains: The Toronto Raptors are in a bit of a jam when it comes to this draft.
Up until a few weeks ago, it looked like the team was going to either big in case of departures by Chris Bosh and Amir Johnson, or try to upgrade the point guard position considering the team has essentially two good backups running the show.
Now though, with Hedo Turkoglu publicly declaring he wants out (to which we say, the sooner the better), the team has holes all over its roster.
Throw in another disappointing season last year and the golden sheen having worn off Bryan Colangelo and suddenly this draft is an immensely important one for the franchise's future.
Right now, it looks like Toronto is looking very closely at 6 guys; Cole Aldrich, Avery Bradley, Ekpe Udoh, Patrick Patterson, Xavier Henry and Paul George. Of this group, I think Toronto is leaning towards Bradley, but under this scenario, he, Aldrich, Patterson and Henry have already been taken...much to our delight. We're simply not sold on Bradley, and the player we'd like Toronto to take the most is still around.
Enter Paul George.
Simply put, the Raptors need more talent and George in our books is the most talented option left on the board. He's got the physical attributes this team craves, can play 3 positions on the court, and is a great kid by all accounts. We had a chance to speak with him last week and his personality seems to be a great fit with this Toronto team.
Yes, he was wildly inconsistent last year and is still quite raw, but this is a Raptor club that needs athleticism, defense and rebounding, all of which George can provide immediately, even if he has a ways to go in terms of other areas of his game. He's not a consistent shooter right now, but as a 91% free-throw shooter last year, this isn't a mechanics issue and under the right tutelage, he should become a very deadly offensive threat.
When we spoke to him he compared his game to that of Joe Johnson. While we're not sure that's an accurate compare at this point, there's no question some of the same attributes are there, and if the Raptors can get a player at 13 who becomes half of the player JJ is, that's a good start to getting this team back on track.
Ridiculous Upside reacts: I like Paul George, I really do (though not as much as the Liberty Ballers crew like him). In this scenario though, I would have selected Udoh - the chances of losing Bosh seem real and the Raptors drafted a wing last season (DeMar DeRozan).
I'm surprised that the big men are being overlooked in what is said to be a big-heavy draft.
Ridiculous Upside's Top 5 remaining prospects: 1 - Luke Babbitt, F, Nevada. 2 - Ekpe Udoh, PF/C, Baylor. 3 - Hassan Whiteside, PF/C, Marshall. 4 - Eric Bledsoe, G, Kentucky. 5- Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler.
Sound off, SB Nation! What say you of the George-to-Toronto pick?
And please, remember to check out Raptors HQ for everything you need to know about by favorite (current) NBA team in Canada (including an interview they did with George last week when he was in Toronto).