NPH Raptors Draft Watch: The Canadian Kid

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TORONTO, ON-It’s hard to stay objective analyzing Tristan Thompson when everyone north of the border is routing for him. 

Wouldn’t it be a hell of a story? The Raptors, with their fifth overall pick, take the hometown kid…Tristan Thompson. But lets not get ahead of ourselves. With all the talent Thompson brings to the court, using a fifth pick might be a bit of a stretch. Word around NBA scouts is that the Brampton native has a good chance of being a top 10 pick, which would make him the highest Canadian ever selected in the draft, (Steve Nash was drafted 15th overall).

Considering how weak this draft is, there are many who think players that fall between the 8-12 spots are interchangeable. If that’s the case, you can never count out Bryan Colangelo’s creativity and knack for making impactful trades. If Colangelo does indeed trade down in the draft order, there is a real chance we might see the hometown kid in a Raptors jersey next season.

Lets take a look at what Tristan Thompson would bring to Toronto…

At 6’9 Tristan is a bit of an undersized power forward, but what he lacks in height he makes up in pure hustle. He is blessed with great athleticism and can run the floor and contribute on both sides of the court. He establishes good early position in the paint, which will allow him to box players out. This, in turn, can help him to be a very good rebounder at the NBA level, while it will also help him to generate extra points with tip-ins and put backs.

As mentioned earlier, he is 6’9, but compensates with a 7’2 wingspan that could help him be a solid shot blocker in this league. To match, Thompson is quick, with an explosive first step. His ability to move without the ball is one of his greatest strengths, as he can cut to the basket and look for lob or bounce passes as he moves. Tristan is not the most skilled athlete, but his energy and hustle will help motivate any team.

Tariq Sbiet, National editor of NPH has followed Thompson’s career for several years, and got a chance to see him workout for the Raptors last week.

“While Thompson may not be a major impact player in the league as a rookie, he has a load of potential to tap into. That is something Colangelo could take into account; but then again, the Raptors need instant impact.”

Some notable stats from his first and only season with the Texas Longhorns include: 13.1 points, 7.8 boards, and 2.4 blocks a game.

While it may be a long shot that the Raps acquire Thompson, if it were to happen, it would cause a lot of excitement amongst fans and young Canadian ball players alike. 

If you’re routing for the Raptors to go for the homegrown kid, don’t lose faith yet. The Raptors do not have a solid pool of players to pick from with their fifth selection. If they did, it would be fair to say Tristan Thompson will not be a Raptor come Thursday’s draft. But considering the weak pool of players this year, Colangelo has a wealth of options available, and one of them involves trading down and taking the Canadian kid.

 

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