RAPTORS BLOG: VanVleet’s Big Night & 2016 NBA Draft Redesign


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Anyone can say it after the fact, but never for a second did I doubt the Raptors would rally to beat Utah on Friday. Even when they were big and even with the team playing perhaps their worst and most frustrating basketball of the season, it was hard to imagine they would lose to such an exhausted opponent.


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Of course, I didn’t see Fred VanVleet’s all-time rampage coming.


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Yes, this has come against players who usually wouldn’t be on the pitch, but that shouldn’t take too much away from what VanVleet has done by putting his teammates on their backs and rallying them. Even in a melee that would be difficult to achieve. Heck, even in an empty gym it would. It’s such a shame that Raptors fans weren’t able to witness VanVleet’s exploits or OG’s thrilling game-winner Anunoby in the bubble playoffs a few years ago (I think it was him. years ago. Who can keep track of what year it is or when things still happened?).

Of course, mistakes happen every year in the project. Even the best talent assessors in the world are not foolproof. But how the hell do you pass VanVleet? How come he didn’t get drafted after everything he did in Wichita State and in high school? And what would you expect from amazing character reports?


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Yes, he’s short, but Kyle Lowry was already a dominant player in the NBA at virtually the same height.


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What a disastrous draft that night of 2016 has been. There was nothing wrong with Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown in 1-2-3, and Jamal Murray at 7 was a skillful job, as was Domantas Sabonis in 11th, but there were hiccups from all of them. times including Phoenix taking Dragan Bender 4th and Marquise Chriss 8th. How future All-NBA Pascal Siakam rose to 27, or Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon to 36 (Brogdon’s medicals at least explain his downfall, we’ve heard they were concerning, but all the same).

Other than Ivica Zubac, Brogdon, Patrick McCaw and Georges Niang, the entire second round was a complete failure. Yet VanVleet was not chosen. But the Raptors got it anyway, with Siakam and lottery pick Jakob Poeltl. Poeltl isn’t Sabonis, but he became an above-par starting center and was a key part of the deal that brought Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green back.


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If you asked me to rephrase this group today, I would say:

1 Jamal Murray

2 Simmons

3 Brown

4 Siakam

5 VanVleet

6 DeJounte Murray

7 Ingram

8 Brogdon

9 Sabonis

10 Poeltl

* And it’s not a hit on Ingram or Sabonis. The other guys just provide awesome defense too (and Jamal has it “that”, for those who say it’s too high for him. Brogdon is great too, but DeJounte Murray is a freak.


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Finally, welcome back to Jonas Valanciunas, who finally makes his first return to Toronto on Sunday. Valanciunas was a great Raptor, arguably the greatest center in franchise history.


Norman Powell.

Things took a dark turn in Portland. The squad are awful, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are both injured and that’s not what Powell expected after being treated there last season and then re-signing. It’s possible the Blazers will destroy everything, with rumors that Lillard, who hasn’t looked good since the Olympics, could be shut down.

Powell had a good game in a loss to Cleveland, scoring 19 points, as well as 5 rebounds and 3 assists.


Dwight Powell.

It’s been a relatively quiet season for center Dallas, but Powell has been on a good streak lately. He had 15 points in 19 minutes in a win over Houston. In the four games Kristaps Porzingis missed recently, Powell averaged 11.8 points on 71 percent shots, 4.8 rebounds and one steal in 22.4 minutes per game. He’s also +30 in those games and has managed his three-point attempts and 11-14 free throw attempts. Powell has carved out a great career, with just under $ 50 million in career earnings. He will be a free agent after next season.


1 Fred Van Vleet

2 OG Anunoby

3 Élie Hugues



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