NBA Draft Notebook: Raptors work out North Carolina PF Brice Johnson

The Toronto Raptors continued their preparation for the 2016 NBA Draft, hosting six prospects for pre-draft workouts on Monday.

The group included two power forwards, one of which could land in the first round, and four shooting guards.

It is extremely unlikely that any of the six players in attendance Monday would be in consideration for the Raptors’ pick at No. 9 overall but at least two of the prospects could be in play for the club’s pick at No. 27.

Here’s the lowdown on the six players the Raptors saw on Monday:

Name: Brice Johnson
Position: Power forward
Team: North Carolina (senior)
Height: 6-foot-11 | Weight: 210 lbs
Projection: Late 1st
The skinny: Johnson was the biggest name in attendance for Monday’s workout. The UNC product is widely projected as a late first-round pick and certainly a possible fit at No. 27, partly addressing the Raptors’ biggest needs at power forward.

Johnson, 21, is coming off a solid senior season in which he averaged 17 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. He excelled on the big stage in the NCAA tournament as well, reaching double-digit rebounds in three of his six games while recording at least 14 points and one block in each of his six games. He is an extremely athletic player with great length, explosiveness, and leaping ability but needs to add bulk and get stronger for his game to translate to the NBA level. The wiry power forward is an effective scorer around the basket with good instincts and a reliable 15-foot jump shot. It remains to be seen if he is physical enough to play with his back to the basket at the pro level. compared him to Taj Gibson of the Chicago Bulls.

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Name: Malcolm Brogdon
Position: Shooting Guard
Team: Virginia (senior)
Height: 6-foot-5 | Weight: 215 lbs
Projection: Late 1st/Early 2nd
The skinny: Another name you may hear called right around that 27 spot, Brogdon was extremely productive at Virginia, averaging 18.2 points per game on 45.7 per cent shooting in his senior season. He averaged two three-point shots per game, shooting 39 per cent from long range last season, with an average of four rebounds and three assists per game. The 23-year-old does not have a ton of flash in his game, but he’s an efficient player that can handle the ball, hit open shots, score through contact, with the potential to be a lockdown defender. Brogdon doesn’t possess elite athleticism or have the upside of some other prospects, but he’s a polished player that appears to be NBA ready and can provide depth to any backcourt. 

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Name: Julian Jacobs
Position: Shooting Guard
Team: USC (senior)
Height: 6-foot-4 | Weight: 180 lbs
Projection: Late 2nd
The skinny: Jacobs, an athletic guard, has appeal due to his defence, passing skills and high motor. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 11.6 points, 5.5 assists, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.2 steals in 31 minutes per game this season while being named first-team All-Pac-12. He could be of interest to the Raptors if he goes undrafted, or they trade down. The Raptors currently do not have a second-round pick.

Name: Rasheed Sulaimon
Position: Shooting Guard
Team: Maryland (senior)
Height: 6-foot-4 | Weight: 190 lbs
Projection: Late 2nd/Undrafted FA
The skinny: Sulaimon was an emerging player for Duke, but was dismissed from the program in January of 2015 after an alleged sexual assault issue. He transferred to Maryland for his senior season, in which he averaged 11.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. He has good length, aggressive defensive instincts (he consistently drew tough defensive assignments with Duke and Maryland), but doesn’t have great handles or court vision. He will need to become more efficient offensively to play at the next level.

Name: Jalen Reynolds
Position: Power Forward
Team: Xavier (junior)
Height: 6-foot-10 | Weight: 232 lbs
Projection: Late 2nd/Undrafted
The skinny: Unlike Johnson, Reynolds won’t be in consideration for one of the Raptors draft picks. The power forward isn’t likely to be drafted but could catch on as post-draft free agent. The 6-foot-10 forward averaged 9.6 points and 6.5 rebounds last season. At 23, he’s a bit old and raw offensively but he has an NBA body, is tough, can block shots and play hard defence.

Name: Justin Edwards
Position: Shooting Guard
Team: Kansas State (junior)
Height: 6-foot-4 | Weight: 200 lbs
Projection: Undrafted
The skinny: Edwards started his college career at Maine before transferring to Kansas State. He averaged a team-leading 12.7 points on 44.2 per cent shooting, including 32.5 per cent from 3-point range, with 5.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.8 steals in 31.6 minutes per game. Similar to Reynolds, it isn’t likely he ends up getting drafted so he’s likely a summer league target.

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