Tyler Rucker discusses why the shooting pedigree of Jordan Hawkins and Gradey Dick could bring a much needed weapon to Toronto's offence. Listen to the full episode on players the Raptors will consider with their first-round lottery pick on the ‘Raptors Over Everything’ podcast feed.
AMIT MANN: We'll stick on this movement shooting aspect here. So there's a few other guys that are in this lottery range that kind of specialize in this a little bit. That's actually, like, one of their biggest skills. And the Raptors, don't gotta tell anyone they could use some of that on their roster.
Look at the Miami Heat, right? That's why they're here in a lot of ways. The threat of movement shooting, it's being really shown in these playoffs, right, how it can get you through tough situations, how it can just get you some easy offense in terms of just being a threat. And then you can have slips and cuts and so forth happening off ball.
So who are the big threats in terms of movement shooting that the Raptors could be interested in?
TYLER RUCKER: I mean, it feels wrong if I don't start out with Jordan Hawkins of UConn. He's unbelievable to watch. I mean, he-- I've joked about it with some guys. And I said, like, I wouldn't want to be an eight-year veteran and be like, OK, you're guarding Jordan Hawkins tonight.
Because he just runs miles and miles on the court. You know, he's coming off of pindowns. He's coming off of screens. He's running off of four screens in one action. It's just crazy.
And then he is violently quick with his release. Like, he can get his shot off of any type, of his feet set, his-- his body's carrying him this way. And it's effective at a high volume. So he's very, very dangerous.
And I also think with his game, there's a little bit more creation than I think a lot of people are understanding. I think there's some potential for the mid-range. And he also is a little bit sneaky athletic. I hate saying that, but like, he'll out of nowhere just go jam on someone. And you're like, whoa, where did that come from?
So I think just-- a lot of people think he's a one-trick pony. I think he's got a lot more to his game. And I think there's some-- some serious versatility just waiting to be unlocked, especially with Jordan Hawkins.
Gradey Dick's another one, of Kansas. Really, really special. I think smart, really smart player off the ball when you're talking about, like, backdoor cutting, knowing how to space the floor. And then obviously, he's got a nice set shot that he-- he can get hot as well, too. So I think those are the two top names to throw out there.
AMIT MANN: So between those two, who do you think is the better defensively? And is it really-- yeah? Is there a "ooh" about that? Or is it, like, unequivocally Jordan Hawkins?
TYLER RUCKER: No, I think-- I think it's a lot closer than people probably think. I think--
AMIT MANN: OK.
TYLER RUCKER: --a lot of people are going to think Gradey Dick isn't a good defender. And I don't think that's entirely true. I think he might be a really good team defender, which is just, like, knowing rotations, where to put himself, how to make everybody else better. And I think there's some stuff on the ball he'll figure out.
But I mean, he's still around 6' 7", 6' 8" with good athleticism and quickness. And I think he's really intelligent. So-- and some people have pointed out that they don't think Jordan Hawkins is a good defender. And I think he's got a lot of potential to be a really nasty defender. I think there's some-- some clips you see this year with UConn where his help side defense is fantastic weak side-- I mean, he just is really smart.
So I think they both-- I don't think they're going to play themselves off the court, if that makes sense. I think they're going to both be good. But I would kind of lean towards Jordan Hawkins there, which might be a little bit of a hot take for some folks. But--
AMIT MANN: [LAUGHS]
TYLER RUCKER: I mean, I've asked around, and I've been told from some that Jordan Hawkins could be going top 10. Like, there's just a lot of love. There's a lot of intrigue with some guys. Like, they're just like, hey, don't be surprised. Like, that's where his conversation is.
So it's a crazy draft this year. It's going to be fun.
AMIT MANN: Hey, no question. And even last year, right, there were guys that were projected to go 12th, and then they went 25th, and then vice versa. So it's just the nature of what a team needs, and that's OK.
I mean, for a Raptors fan, like, Danny Green, when he was here, we kind of got, like, the tail end of Danny Green's elite on-ball defensive days. But we saw also his off-ball defense. He always knew where to be, always. And that's why he was able to still garner minutes at a point of his career where his on-ball defense was kind of trailing off a little bit, is that he knew where to be, and that he was able to muck up driving lanes and dig on balls and just be a distraction and a disrupter, as well as be a movement shooter.
So I'm excited about either of those guys. I think-- I like that Gradey Dick-- I mean, he's 6' 8", 205. 6' 8" means something. I mean, we're still talking about players that you can guard a one or a two or three. But 6' 8" is 6' 8". It's not 6' 5", which is what Jordan Hawkins is. So there is obviously a height difference there.
And it reminds me actually of what-- it was Austin Reaves, he was closing out on Michael Porter, Jr., on a few shots. And we're just seeing the difference in which he could not get up there. There was no way.
TYLER RUCKER: Right.
AMIT MANN: It was not possible. So this is where a Gradey Dick could be more beneficial than a Jordan Hawkins, right?
TYLER RUCKER: Right, it makes sense. I mean, that stuff starts to-- it's funny how it never matters until you get to this part of the playoffs. And then it's like, oh, that matters. That's-- that's when it starts to really make a difference. So I get it, you know?
And that's the thing with Gradey Dick, is you have to constantly remind yourself, like, oh, he's 6' 8". Like, he's 6' 8". He looks like he's 6' 4", and then all of a sudden, you're like, no, he's 6' 8" and can do all this stuff.
So they're both dynamic. They're both special in their-- in different ways. And I think they're both going to be good players.
AMIT MANN: Everything nowadays with the Raptors-- I mean, you probably saw from afar that everything that I see with the Raptors now, it's like, how does this help them win playoff rounds? That's all I look at. I care very little about the regular season. Yeah, OK, their funky 6' 9" thing, it had some glimmers of hope at points of this season, obviously last season.
But now, it's like, how do you make sure that you have a eight-man rotation that is going to work in the playoffs as well? And what are the pitfalls of it? What kind of additions do you need?
And that's why I'm so excited about a few of these players. Like, we have seen-- I mean, you probably know better than I do, the kinds of players that historically have been taken around 13, like, there are some really good ones.