Toronto Raptors Ups Their Average Height by Selecting Christian Koloko
The Raptors broke their mould and picked a big center with their second-round pick.
On Thursday, the Toronto Raptors selected Christian Koloko -a center from Arizona- with the 33rd overall pick at the 2022 NBA Draft.
Koloko is a 7-1 center who can help the team with rim protection and rebounding, something that they lacked last season.
In his final year at Arizona State, the Cameroonian basketball player averaged 12.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game. He played 37 games and averaged 25 minutes per contest.
The Raptors were running an experiment last season to see how well they could do with a team full of 6-9 wings (or that’s what it seemed like, anyway). And, to many fans’ surprise, they did better than expected.
I truly thought that the best they were going to do was make it into the play-in, and I would’ve been happy with that.
But they made it straight into the playoffs by securing the fifth seed.
However, they faced off against the Philidelphia 76ers in the first round and, unfortunately, did not prevail. Their opponents were just too big for them. Joel Embiid was too big and strong and skilled, and he bullied them throughout the entire series.
And in a way, that was a good thing.
Because they lost to the 76ers, the Raptors were able to identify their weak spots.
They were able to realize that they needed a traditionally big guy on their roster. They were able to see that they needed someone who can be a force in the paint -someone who can deny shots and rip rebounds out of the sky.
And Christian Koloko can do that for them. However, he will probably come off of the bench.
I think Raptors exec Masai Ujiri and Head Coach Nick Nurse still want to run a small line-up. Their system consists of moving and switching on defence and pushing the tempo on offence, and I don’t think Koloko can run like that for a long period of time.
But with him on their bench, they are more equipped to gameplan for certain teams (teams with big centers and power forwards like the Cleveland Cavaliers or the aforementioned 76ers) and prevent their 6-9 players from getting pushed around and battered.
All in all, I think this was a good pick.
Koloko remedies some of the Raptors’ deficiencies while also being a young player with potential.
Now, all they need is a go-to scorer to lead their bench unit.