Why are the Toronto Raptors such a good fot for Ron Harper Jr.?

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Ron Harper Jr. can stick in the NBA and develop with the Toronto Raptors. So says an NBA draft insider in discussing the fit of Harper, a former Rutgers basketball standout, with his new team.

In a recent interview, NBA draft insider Rafael Barlowe told Amit Mann of Yahoo!Sports Canada what he thinks about Harper signing with the Raptors and why he didn’t end up being drafted. Barlowe told Mann that “No I’m not surprised,” in response to a question about Harper not being selected in last week’s NBA draft.

Last season at Rutgers, Harper averaged 15.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. He was named an AP All-American.

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The Toronto Raptors signed Harper shortly after the NBA draft.

“The biggest knock against Ron Harper Jr. is that he’s not an athlete,” Barlowe told Mann.

“I watched him at the combine, I sat next to some scouts. They liked him a little a bit but they were like ‘He has no explosiveness, he doesn’t have any lift around the rim’ – they think he’s going to struggle.’ …I think that is why he fell out of the top 58…Obviously, he has some value to be signed so fast.”

Harper was instrumental in helping Rutgers to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time since 1976.

In terms of the Raptors, Mann and Barlowe both agreed that there is a good fit. Harper signed a two-way contract, allowing him to develop and grow but also potentially see minutes in the NBA as a rookie.

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The Raptors have a strong developmental track record which leads Barlowe to think Harper can develop into a role north of the border saying that “They have a pretty good track record of turning nothing into something,”

“He’s a crafty scorer, that is what you know you’re going to get from him, a creative scorer. I think he has to be because he doesn’t have this typical athleticism and elite first step and the natural quick-twich gifts that some of the other guys have that teams value in wings. I think him not being athletic forces him to be a little crafty and creative. I think at the very minimum, he can be a three-point shooter, shot a little under 40 percent from three. I think there can be a role,” Barlowe said.

“I just wonder defensively, the lack of athleticism does it really hurt him more on the defensive end, even though I think he can move his feet.”