Raptors coach Nick Nurse discusses why Toronto drafted Arizona center Christian Koloko with their 33rd pick. Full availability is on our Yahoo Sports Canada YouTube channel
NICK NURSE: Well the guys have been following him for quite a while, right? Good shot blocker, really good defensive numbers, ranks really highly in all of college basketball last year in a lot of categories, pretty decent pick-and-roll player, and he's got good feet. I think he's a big that's a rim-protecting shot blocker, but I think he's not without the ability to do some switching and move his feet on the perimeter as well.
So decent touch-- good free-throw shooter. Decent touch-- got some things he's developing, still, a little bit. But pretty exciting.
I think, certainly, kind of, slots in, possibly, a position of need in roster balance, too. So pretty exciting pick, I think, for that one tonight.
- Yeah, is it kind of fun to think about? I mean, you guys have developed all kinds of different players. This is one kind of player you guys haven't really had the opportunity to develop, kind of, maybe, [? a ?] different program [? evolve. ?]
NICK NURSE: Yeah, I think you're right. He's a five man, Michael, right-- but not, maybe, a typical five man. He's the more modern lob-threat, rim-protector type of center.
He's not like a banging, post-up type of guy, which is good. We're going to want to open the floor the way we always like to do. So you're right. It is a little different than any of the traditional centers we've had and, certainly, what we had most recently.
- What'd Pascal think of the pick?
NICK NURSE: Ha, ha. I haven't talked to Pascal as of yet, but I'm sure he'll find it interesting. Why do you ask?
- The hometown thing.
NICK NURSE: Oh, right, yeah, same hometown-- that is something. That is something. I'm sure it'll be interesting to see those two guys together.
- Nick, you went all season last year without a guy like this. Did that tell you something about a need for a guy like this? Or why did you-- you went all year, and now, suddenly, you've got a 7-foot guy.
NICK NURSE: Yeah, I mean, I think that there's certain situations, probably, that we were playing with what we had and making do, making defensive schemes, adjustments, and things out of necessity, with the roster. So I mean, again, I've always said I like flexibility. And if the things we're doing or we can't do with our main guys-- for whatever reason on a certain match-up or so-- calls for something else, then maybe this will give us a chance to do that.
And listen, if he protects the rim as well as I think he does, I think that always gives you a chance, if it's possible, to be even more aggressive out on the wings and funnel things in and try to be even more in lanes and more handsy and more turnover driven and not have to pay for it. If you gamble and make some mistakes, maybe you can have somebody save some of those mistakes at the goal.
- Nick, have you seen enough from him to believe that he'll be a contributor right away?
NICK NURSE: I've seen quite a bit of him. I've seen him play quite a bit. It's always hard to tell. I mean, I'm hoping so.
I mean, I think that there's probably, positionally, a chance for him to fight his way in there and get some time. And I would always say this too. You never know, on day one, what things look like when the whole roster shows up. They're fresh and healthy, and as we've seen, there's always a lot of movement.
I would imagine that he'll get his chance, at some point. It's just a matter of when that comes. And then you just never know.
But I think there's a lot of potential. Again, still a little bit of in development phase, but I think there's a lot of potential there with the size and the feet and the timing and things that are already there, that he could probably help us.
- Is there like a main thing that you see that he needs to work on right off the [INAUDIBLE]?
NICK NURSE: Well, I always think this. As good of, like, kind of natural defender he is, will he be able to understand NBA defense and schemes? Now, it's probably a little easier for this position to learn exactly what's going on because you're not in a ton of, like, rotational things. Usually that's all the wings and guards that are having to make the fly around and reads and drops and long runs out to challenge and all those things.
So he should be able to pick that stuff up. That's always the first thing I say. And then, from the other standpoint, can he finish at the rim? Will we get him in position where he can get the lob situations? And then, what kind of strength will he have with the basketball on the perimeter, making exchanges, reversing the ball-- all those things we kind of like our big that ends up, if there is a trail situation, to be somewhat of a facilitator.
- You know, if you're a shooter-- 3-point-- the one thing that sticks out--