Mock Draft: Raptors Take Baylor's Freshman Big in 1st Round

The Toronto Raptors are expected to take Baylor's freshman center Yves Missi with the No. 19 pick in the NBA draft
Baylor freshman center Yves Missi (21) points back after scoring against Kansas
Baylor freshman center Yves Missi (21) points back after scoring against Kansas / Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA
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The Toronto Raptors have spent the better part of the past three seasons searching for a young big man to augment their core.

Precious Achiuwa showed flashes of being an impressive small-ball big but never quite worked out for Toronto. Christian Koloko’s career had to be put on pause due to ongoing medical issues. Even Jontay Porter showed flashes of something somewhat intriguing, but he was banned from the league for gambling on basketball.

But Toronto may have a chance to add a developmental big man in this year’s draft with Baylor’s Yves Missi projected to be the team’s selection at No. 19, according to The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie.

“Missi is a project, but he’s one with elite tools that project to a clear NBA role,” Vecenie wrote. “He’s a terrific athlete who moves his feet fluidly in space, given his size, and can sky for impressive lob finishes in transition and from the dunker spot underneath the hoop. He blocks shots well and has potential to stick with guards for multiple slides on defense.”

Missi measured a little shorter than expected at Monday’s draft combine, listed at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, but the Bears center is still one of the biggest defensive anchors in this year’s class.

The 19-year-old freshman averaged 10.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game while playing just 23 minutes per game.

His relative lack of playing time is one of the questions about Missi who doesn’t quite appear ready to slide into an NBA rotation. He’ll have to build out his body and work on his defensive positioning, likely with time in the G League next season.

“He profiles as a Clint Capela-style NBA big man who can guard a bit in space once he picks up the nuances of ball-screen coverage and protect the rim with his physical frame,” Vecenie wrote. “He needs to put on some weight in his lower half and get stronger through his base, as he too often gets moved on the block and can struggle on the defensive glass. But he has the look of a competent defensive starting center if he can reach his ceiling.”

Considering Toronto has Jakob Poeltl and Kelly Olynyk under contract moving forward, there’d be no reason to rush Missi’s development. The organization could give him plenty of time with the Raptors 905 next year before eventually moving him into the rotation down the road.

Aaron Rose


Aaron Rose is a Toronto-based reporter covering the Toronto Raptors since 2020.