Imman Adan is joined by Stephen Gillaspie of NoCeilingsNBA to discuss the marquee shooters the Raptors could draft in the late lottery at the 2023 NBA Draft. Listen to the full podcast on draft prospects that fit Toronto's needs at No.13 in the NBA Draft on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed.
IMMAN ADAN: If you can focus on the shooting aspect of this draft, who are some names that Raptor fans should maybe dig into a little bit or really be hopeful that their team can pick up?
STEPHEN GILLASPIE: Imman, so for shooting being the number one need that you have prioritized here, Imman, I think that this is the perfect draft class for you to need that because there is going to be no shortage of players available, even deep into the second round, in my opinion, but around the lottery range, I have four names that I would love to present the fans here.
So the first one is Bryce Sensabaugh out of Ohio State. Now he kind of feels like a Raptors player because he's a wing forward who's about 6'6", so a little bit undersized for the template that you're trying to follow there, but he's very strong. He's kind of awkwardly built, but the best part about the draft season now is you're starting to see these workout pictures and stuff like that. And he looks like he's gotten into pretty good shape this offseason.
And he's pretty much known for being a scorer, but I think the under-discussed aspect of his game is that he was a 40% 3-point shooter in college. He's also capable of being able to take players off of the bounce too. So he has like that scoring, shooting aspect to his game.
I actually have a one spot behind Cason because there is a little bit of a chance that some of the deficiencies in his game and some of the concerns might bear themselves out. But I think that he actually might have a little bit higher upside than a Cason Wallace. So it's kind of like a more risk-reward type player.
IMMAN ADAN: Right.
STEPHEN GILLASPIE: But there are a lot of guys at NoCeilings. Like, if you're asking me about Brice, I feel like I have him in a more conservative position. There are some guys at NoCeilings that have him, like, top 10, so.
IMMAN ADAN: Really? Can I ask, what are those deficiencies that have you kind of more conservative with him?
STEPHEN GILLASPIE: Well, so, the thing about him and a couple other players in this draft is that he played on a team that didn't really pass the ball well. So that impacted his passing numbers. And I know that for Toronto, you're going to want to see someone who can come in and kind of help share the sugar a little bit.
So that's a bit of a concern. A lot of his shots are kind of tough shots, but he makes them at a good efficiency right now. Like, overall, from the field, he's a 48% field goal shooter. So although they look tough, he finishes well. There's just that little bit of like, is he going to be able to do that against elite NBA level competition on the perimeter? So that's a little bit of a concern of mine.
I think that worst case scenario though, you're looking at him being a pretty good 3-point shooter in the NBA. And the defensive concerns are also present a little bit too, which doesn't really pull at the heartstrings of Toronto Raptors fan base, I understand. But if everything breaks right for him, you have an efficient, like, kind of heliocentric type of offensive player, and you just kind of hope that the defense around him holds up to make him at least like a net neutral style defender.
So that's one. The next prospect--
IMMAN ADAN: I'm not mad at that. That kind of feels like a replacement for Gary Trent Jr, who's two inches taller. Like, an inch taller. It feels very-- OK, I'm not mad at that. The Raptors are probably going to need a new sixth man, or maybe they keep him, like fingers crossed, but yeah, and then get both of them. OK, I'll let you go to the next one, I'll stop interrupting.
STEPHEN GILLASPIE: Yeah. No, no, please do, please do. This is your show.
IMMAN ADAN: Here's the thing, I don't shut up. Everybody who knows, anyone who watches this knows that, so I probably will, but I'll lie to myself and say that I won't continue to interrupt, even though--
STEPHEN GILLASPIE: Well, I've been married for 12 years. So I'm used to being interrupted. So we're fine on that front.
The next prospect I'd like to bring up is one that's fallen down boards a lot. Us at NoCeilings, I'm pretty proud of the fact that we're still kind of holding on hope that he is going to be a pretty good prospect. And I have him at 17th on my board.
Again, there are more people at NoCeilings that are higher. I'm a little bit more conservative, I would say, with him, but even still, I have him at 17th, which is significantly higher than where you're going to find at some places, and that's Jett Howard out of Michigan.
Now, again, another guy with a little bit of defensive concerns. He shot 41% from the floor, 37% from 3, or excuse me, 80% from the free throw line, and he's a 14-point per game player at Michigan. Now, people are concerned about athleticism, defense, and stuff like that. At the end of the season, it was actually reported that he had two ankle injuries, one on each ankle. So there are also injury concerns.
But the thing is that he's like 6'8", so he's like a mountain of a player. Like, if anything else, he's going to be a tremendous 3-point shooter. And he also possesses some good, like, tertiary playmaking, which again, for on the perimeter, on the wing, playing off of your star players there in Toronto, I think that Jett could complement them as well, and give you some good size along the wing and good playmaking as well.
So that would be my second player that I have here. My next two, Gradey Dick, who I have at 16, out of Kansas, and then the last one is Max Lewis out of Pepperdine. I have him 19th on my board.
Both of these guys shot very well from the floor. Max Lewis played on a poor defensive team in Pepperdine. So it's kind of one of those players that I don't know how much of the defensive concerns are him or that just the team as a whole could not play defense, but he's about 6'7", and early on in the season, he was breaking all kinds of shooting models, right?
Like, he was one of the best shooters in the first half of the season, like, ridiculously good at shooting. Not just like, OK, he's pretty nice. Like, he was going nuts, but it kind of averaged out to about 35%. And again, he was, like, hands down, in my opinion, the best player on his team in college in the WCC, which is not like a-- like the premier conference in college basketball.
And Gradey played at Kansas, 6'8". I actually like his off-ball game a lot. He's getting knocked as not being a premiere movement shooter. I think that he can be. I also like his stuff that he can do when he's not shooting.
Like, there was one game that I watched with him against TCU where the shot wasn't going, but he can attack the basket. He can rebound. The defense is further along than other people give him credit for.
But those are my four kind of targets that I would, if I'm Toronto, like, at worst, the worst shooter out of this group shot 35% on a high volume and difficult shot making. So, all great shooters that are going to be available for Toronto.