|The 9th pick is the rapidly improving Toronto Raptors. GM:
1. Team Needs/ History Position Analysis- PG Damon Stoudamire (20.2 pts, 8.8 ast, 4.1 rbs in 40.9 mpg) - solid player with excellent court sense who mak up for his size with his heart - excellent rebounder considering he's only 5'10" - combined with Doug Christie to haul down 9.4 rpg, one of the top totals among guards - former ROY who is a skilled passer, lightning quick and can hit the pull-up jumper - future NBA all-star who must increase his field goal percentage and take care of the ball to decrease his turnovers - sixth in the league in assists, ninth in three point field goal percentage and eigteenth in scoring Grade: A SG Doug Christie (14.5 pts, 5.3 rbs, 2.48 stlsin 38.6 mpg) - flashy 2/3 who was given the chance to prove himself and did so adequately - second in the league in steals, candidate for most improved player, but denied that honour as well as being left off the NBA all-defensive teams - fearless, shows a reckless abandon to take it to the hole when challenged to do so - needs to improved his shot selection Grade: B SF Walt Williams (16.4 pts, 5.0 rbs, 2.7 ast in 36.3 mpg) - finesse player who is able to score on the break, spot up for the 3 or use a variety of moves in the post up position - steal of the year since he played for the league minimum - free agent whose asking price may be too steep for Isiah - a good scorer, but he is constantly knocked for his lack of defence, unable to move his feet quickly Grade: B PF Marcus Camby (14.8 pts, 6.3 rbs, 2.06 blks in 30.1 mpg) - mobile, versatile player who can run the floor, move quickly and handle the rock exceptionally well for someone his size - consistent shooter from 15 ft - Rookie of the Month for March as he went on an absolute tear, averaging 21.1 pts, 9.1 rbs, and 2.5 blks - excellent shot blocker, tenth in the league - needs to muscle up to play the power forward position more effectively, as well as improving his rebounds - should up up ROM for March numbers in the coming years Grade: C+ C Sharone Wright (6.5 pts, 3.1 rbs) - hampered by injuries for most of the season and was unable to get into the swing of things - needs to strengthen his back which was his problem this year and add some muscle to make up for the weight that he lost - showed glimpse of excellence when he first was acquired, but injuries have plagued him ever since - needs to rebound and score more, work on post moves and develop an outside shot Grade: D- Bench SF/ PF Carlos Rogers (9.8 pts, 5.4 rbs in 24.9 mpg) - versatile player who can play both forward positions and was a "spark" off the bench - quick leaper who needs to bulk up and develop a consistent jump shot Grade: C+ PF Popeye Jones (7.8 pts, 8.6 rbs in 30.6 mpg) - excellent rebounder who should have averaged 10 a game - studies the art of rebounding and knows where to place himself Grade: B- SG Shawn Respert (4.2 pts, 1.0 ast in 12.1 mpg) - picked up before the trade deadline from the Bucks for Acie Earl - needs more court time to prove himself - critics say he is too small for his position, but then again Joe Dumars plays the 2 and he isn't a giant at 6'2" Grade: D PF/ C Clifford Rozier (4.5 pts, 5.6 rbs in 17.5 mpg) - hard worker and good rebounder - had a run in with coach Walker and future may be uncertain although Isiah liked what he did on the court Grade: C Note : The Raptors improved their record by nine games this past season from 21-61 to 30-52. 2. Selection Adonal Foyle, C, Colgate Isiah needs a center badly and Foyle will fill up the middle adequatley. He is a good scorer, excellent rebounder and an amazing shot blocker, averaging 6.4 blocks per game this past collegiate season. A starting five of Damon, Christie, The Wizard, Camby and Foyle is a strong foundation for an uprising team. Critcs say that the Patriot League doesn't provide enough competition to assess his skills, but, remember the Admiral came to the NBA from Navy of the same conference and he was the first overall pick. I think that Foyle will be an excellent choice and will be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come. 3. Others considered Tim Thomas, SF, Villanova Tons of potential, but I doubt he'll be around (NJ should take him) Kelvin Cato, C, Iowa St Would fill the void in the middle and could possibly be the player that the Raptos do select. Tracy McGrady, SF, Mt. Zion (HS) Swingman who may blossom into a potential all-star. Chauncey Billups, PG/SG, Colorado Would be lethal as a slashing 2 guard, but it looks like Denver will take him. Danny Fortson, PF, Cinncinnati Banger and rebounder who is also a strong candidate for being selected by Toronto. 4. And with the 9th pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptos select .... from Iowa St., Kelvin Cato. 5. Possible trades, etc. First off, this is how I see the draft, 1. Spurs - Duncan 2. 76ers - Battie 3. Celtics - Van Horn 4. Grizzlies - Mercer 5. Nuggets - Foyle 6. Celtics - Daniels 7. Nets - Thomas 8. Warriors - McGrady 9. Raptors - Cato 10. Bucks - Billups 11. Kings - Fortson 12. Pacers - Croshere 13. Cavs- Carr That being said, if the Nuggets are high on Billups, then there is a possiblity that they may be able to trade with the Raptors. I see it as the same scenario as last year because if Toronto really wants Foyle, then they should have Denver select him, and then Toronto will select the player that the Nuggets want, Billups, instead of Cato. As well, Denver will be able to get something else out of this because the Raptors may give up next years draft pick or some bench player (ie. Carlos Rogers, Shawn Respert) as well. An even crazier scenario involves the Raptors re-signing Walt Williams before the draft and packaging him, Billups, a draft pick, and another player to Denver for Adonal Foyle and Antonio McDyess. If they don't sign Williams, then Doug Christie may be included or Sharone Wright if Denver was dumb enough to take his huge salary. In that case the Raptors starting lineup would be, Damon, Christie, Camby, McDyess and Foyle, or Damon, Respert, Williams, McDyess and Foyle with Camby off the bench. 6. Predictions If they re-sign Williams and their pick in the draft averages 10 pts, get ready to see the Raptors in the playoffs. If they trade for Foyle, then watch out, because he is going to be something in the middle. Marcus will have the year he should have, averaging 18 pts, 8 rbs, and close to 3 blocks per game. Damon and Christie will continue to improve and become one of the top backcourts in the league. That's all folks, I hope that this was enough. I had a fun time doing this and hope to do so again nexy year.
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