Since the Raptors’ season ended on April 26, we’ve gone over a month without any real, tangible news.

Sure, there have been some tantalizing and juicy rumours and reports (hello, Steve Nash and Jeremy Lin), some decent headlines (DeRozan joining U.S. Select Team), and other minor tidbits.

But in terms of things actually happening and real results, Wednesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery will mark the unofficial beginning of what should be a very intriguing off-season for Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors.

On Friday, Raptors Community Manager Jay Satur broke down the lottery itself and the Raptors’ chances in it.

Now we bring you our RaptorBlog Lottery Primer, with a quick look at who you should be keeping an eye on depending on what transpires Wednesday night.

No. 1 Pick (3.5 % chance): Anthony Davis – In reality, there’s no such thing as a “can’t miss prospect” in pro sports, especially when talking about young big men joining the NBA. But having said that, Anthony Davis is the closest thing to a can’t miss big man prospect you can find. He possesses incredibly impressive defensive instincts, has great length and size, runs the floor well and has a high level of untapped offensive potential, since the 6-10 power forward was playing as a 6-2 guard just a few short years ago. It’s crazy to see people already proclaiming Davis a star, a future superstar and someone with transcending talent, but I’ll say this, he’s a championship-type big man. His ability to impact a basketball game in so many ways, especially on the defensive end, makes him the type of big you build championship teams around.

No one in their right mind would take anybody but Davis with the No. 1 pick in 2012, and that’s all I have to say about that.

No. 2 Pick (4% chance): Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – From what I’ve seen, the only consensus pick after Davis at No. 1 as of right now should be his Kentucky teammate, small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Like Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist has a sky high defensive ceiling at his position, and like Davis, MKG still has a ton of untapped offensive ability. While his offensive range has to improve, Kidd-Gilchrist makes up for it by putting his head down and driving relentlessly to the basket on nearly all of his possessions. His “body on the line” mentality might make him susceptible to wear and tear, but I’ll take my chances with a guy who works his ass off over guys whose effort might come into question from time to time.  He should be good enough defensively and get to the free throw line enough to make at least a decent NBA contribution right away. With his insanely high motor and reputable character, I don’t see why anyone would doubt how good the 18-year-old can be going forward.

While he’s not Anthony Davis, I’d still be incredibly excited if the Raptors land the No. 2 pick on Wednesday and the chance to draft Kidd-Gilchrist. Unless pre-draft workouts and combines significantly alter the landscape, or unless an executive is ballsy enough (and foolish enough) to take a guy like Andre Drummond ahead of him, then MKG should be the second name called out on June 28.

No. 3 Pick (4.8% chance): Bradley Beal, Thomas Robinson – The No. 3 spot is where things begin to get a whole lot more difficult to project. As I mentioned, there is the possibility that things change between now and draft night or that someone becomes so enamored with a big man that Kidd-Gilchrist falls to No. 3, but for the most part, I think landing anywhere outside the top-two means kissing the chances of Davis or MKG goodbye.

With that, the next few names should be the aforementioned Drummond, whose questionable performance at UCONN and the fact that he’s a risky big don’t really make sense for the Raptors, Florida’s Bradley Beal and Kansas’ Thomas Robinson. Beal can be a great scorer at the shooting guard position and Robinson’s a workhorse power forward whose effort level alone should ensure at least a decent NBA career, but neither of them seems like a slam dunk to me (that’s not to say I would be disappointed with these two). Nonetheless, as is stands right now, one of Beal or Robinson would be the logical choice for Toronto with Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist off the board.

No. 8 Pick (70.4% chance) – Despite some unspectacular college play, you would have to assume that based on potential alone, North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes and Baylor’s Perry Jones III will be off the board after the top-seven, but if one of those guys slips through the cracks and is available at No. 8, especially Barnes for me, it would be incredibly tough to pass them up.

No. 9 Pick (16.5% chance)

No. 10 Pick (0.8% chance)

No. 11 Pick (0.0001% chance)

If the Raptors don’t land in the top-three, there should be a plethora of options to debate about and choose between in the 8-11 range.

A guy like Dion Waiters, who one General Manager apparently compared to Dwyane Wade, could be a draft night steal. Damian Lillard and Kendall Marshall provide different styles of point guards to choose from, with Lillard being a potential scoring machine at the lead guard position. Personally, I wouldn’t take Marshall this high (in the lottery).

Jeremy Lamb, Austin Rivers and Terrence Ross, a trio of unpredictable shooting guards (Ross can play some small forward), could cause reason for optimism as well as frustration wherever they land.

Depending on how workouts go and how far the Raptors might drop, I still wouldn’t rule out Kentucky forward Terrence Jones either, whose talent, athleticism and potential on both ends of the court will never be doubted, but whose consistency (like Perry Jones III) is a big time question mark and cause for concern.

***

As you can probably tell, Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist are my runaway favourites, and if the balls miraculously bounce Toronto’s way and one those players is wearing a Raptors jersey next season, I’d be as excited for the future of this franchise as I’ve probably been since the Vince Carter Era.

If Davis and MKG go one and two, as they should, then I don’t know I like Beal or Robinson enough to really care about still moving up to No. 3, which again, isn’t a knock on my overall views of either player. But obviously, from an “options” and “asset” standpoint, three is better than 8-to-11.

Not that there are actual reports or even rumours about it out there, but I’m genuinely curious to know how other Raptors fans would feel about considering trading down in the draft (to obviously get an already established young NBA player) if Toronto doesn’t move up. Say if a guy like Kyle Lowry was available?

***

Lastly, it was announced today that Dwane Casey will represent the Raptors at the Lottery. In my humble opinion, no one else should have even been considered. From a basketball perspective, Dwane Casey’s philosophy (pound the rock, defence first, hard work) is what should represent this franchise going forward.

Comments (32)

  1. what would it require to trade up to the number 2 or 3 pick?

  2. If they move up to 3rd in the lottery, the best move (if MKG is gone) may be to pick Drummond and trade him to someone (Portland?) willing to break the bank. Could probably get at least a couple of later picks and a future 1st.

  3. So, there’s a 96.5% chance following the lottery that the Raptors continue to be stuck in lottery hell for the foreseeable future.

    Great.

    • Disagree. Regardless of what happens Wednesday, they already know they’ve got JV who’d likely be a top 3 pick in this draft. They still managed to improve this past season even with out a draft pick, a team made up of stop-gap free agents and their best player injured/rehabbing for much of the season. They’ve got tons of cap space, a huge potential trade chip in JC’s expiring contract and a solid coach in place. This team isn’t far off from the playoffs.

      • When Bargnani is your best player, you’re not really in that great of shape as a team.

        Yeah, they’re close to the playoffs. But they’re not even close to having any meaningful playoff games that go past the first round.

        • Yeah, I’d almost prefer to be in lottery hell rather than being a 35-40 win team that provides an open scrimmage to the #1 or #2 seed in the first round.

          It really is rather amusing how far people are willing to stretch cap space (something over half the league has but only a very small percentage are able to make difference making additions through) and a 20-year old rookie center.

          We need Davis pretty badly.

          • Glad I could be so amusing for you. I’m just illustrating that the team has acquired a number of positive pieces and put themselves in good shape for the future. You want to see something amusing, look at the state of Charlotte or the Nets if they miss out on Davis. Of course Davis would be the biggest step for improvement, but if we don’t get him, we’re not in nearly as bad shape as many other teams in the lottery. Becoming a playoff threat is a process and doesn’t happen overnight. Taking the lumps as a 7th or 8th seed is a part of the process (see the Bulls 3 years ago). Expect on TO missing out on Davis but recognize that there’s sill a lot to be hopeful for in the future. If you can’t recognize that, then you’re just always going to be miserable.

          • Chicago lucked out with the first overall pick and got Rose, who was expected to be a star (like Davis), how does that compare to the Raptors situation when they don’t have one?

            I don’t think many people will argue that the Raptors are going to make the playoffs in the next season or two.

            The problem is, with the current group, that’s all they will be is just a playoff team. Don’t expect this group of players to ever be legitimately contending for a title because they won’t be.

            Being a mediocre team (borderline playoff team, but not good enough to contend) is the worst spot to be in the NBA. The Raptors are slowly fitting that description. There’s not much to be hopeful for in that respect, and that’s where the frustration comes from.

          • Well, the odds are that Toronto is not walking out of this draft with Anthony Davis (who, by the way, would not instantly turn this team into championship contenders). But if despite that, you still can’t find things about this team to be hopeful of, or if you find that being “just a playoff team” is a failure, then I just feel sorry for you as you will probably never find enjoyment out of following this team’s success.

          • And I only mentioned Chicago to illustrate that even with a first overall star like Rose, they’ve still had to go through their playoff struggles. It’s all a part of becoming a championship-caliber team, it doesn’t mean they’ve failed. If the Raptors can make the playoffs and continue to improve in avenues other than hoping to win the lottery, then I think it’s something to be celebrated, not to complain about.

          • Yes, Chicago has had to go through it’s struggles but in the end, they landed the number one pick and drafted Rose. You’re right, they spent the first two years with Rose as a 7th and 8th seed before finishing the last two consecutive seasons at #1.

            The point is, they are where they are now because of that number one pick Rose who was seen at the time as a future star. The same goes with Davis now. No one expects the team that drafts him to become an elite team next season, but he is going to be a franchise type player that you can build a contendor around in the future. The Raptors, without a #1 pick don’t have a star player like that so it’s hard to picture them becoming a championship-calibre team.

            And Sean, I don’t think a half-assed rebuild and a team that really isn’t build to contend in the playoffs should be celebrated in any way.

            If you’re building a team just to make the playoffs, but not to actually compete in the playoffs, then I see it as a failure. In sports, or like anything for that matter, you should always play or manage a team to be the best in the league. Not just to be satisfied when your only better than half of your opponents.

    • I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Valanciunas has a good chance at being a top two or three rookie next season, and it’s not impossible that the Raptors could add another impact player with a mid-lottery pick. Combine that with the likelihood of a noteworthy free agent addition and the probability that there won’t be any complete scrubs like Rasual Butler and Anthony Carter on the roster, and it’s not crazy to suggest that the Raptors could return to the playoffs in 2013.

      • And don’t forget to include Alan Anderson in your list of complete scrubs Scott. His 8.7 PER matched Anthony Carters. He may have looked OK on O, but he was she it on D.

  4. I would welcome the idea of our 8th pick + Bargnani for the 1st pick nothing less, grab AD and REALLY start the franchise again.

    • It’d be nice, but there isn’t a team in the league that would trade Davis for that. As improved as he’s gotten, AB’s name is still mud around the league. That is, the fanbase of whoever makes that trade would never forgive them.

    • Anyone who would trade the number one pick Anthony Davis for the 8th pick and Andrea Bargnani would be fired. Instantly.

  5. Great stuff, I definitely agree in that Casey should front for the raptors on wednesday.
    If 1-3 go elsewhere, I’d quite happily trade down for Lowry, who could be really very good with us in my opinion. That is, only if the likes of Barnes don’t slip through to 8th.

  6. raps should try to trade for Pau Gasol
    I would offer J.J , JC and AB

  7. This team is gonna be very young next season. I foresee growing pains. I would actually rather hit the top half of the lottery next year as opposed to sniffing the playoffs. JV and this year’s pick are gonna need 2-3 seasons minimum anyway. Let’s get more talent before dreaming of lame 1st round playoff exits..

  8. If the Raps don’t luck out and move into the top 3, I think they’re going to try and trade the pick. To me, this looks like a draft where a lot of guys taken between 20 and 35 are going to turn out to be better pros than guys taken in 5-20 range. I look at players like Draymond Green, Darius Miller and Jae Crowder, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if a couple of them turn out to be better than Perry Jones or Terrence Jones, or even Harrison Barnes (don’t get the hype with that guy at all). I love Kendall Marshall fwiw but he has obvious holes. Everyone’s a risk after Davis, and then maybe Beal and MKG, as far as I can tell. I don’t think BC or especially Casey will be in the mood to gamble much on “upside,” not with this much youth on the roster and JV coming over.

    BC can try and move up to later in the 1st round if there is a guy they like by packaging their 2nd rounder and something else.

    If the Rockets offered Lowry for #8 (and whatever necessary fillers on both ends), what do you think BC would do with Casey in his ear? Could they still have $$ to go after a Nic Batum?

    • I think Lowry would be a great addition. I’d much rather see them give up the 8th pick for him, rather than try and overpay for Lin or Nash.

      Calderon and the 8th pick should be enough I think.

      • I’d rather have Dragic and not have to give up the 8th pick, than have Lowry, lose the 8th, and then have to watch Lowry walk in 2 years.

        Lowry and KMart for DD and Jose. Toronto swallows the $5 mil salary hit, lets KMart walk a year later, and desperately tries to sign Lowry to an extension. Houston gets a younger, cheaper, version of KMart with EQUAL offensive production, and a slight downgrade with Jose, but a Spaniard they might be able to use to lure PAU.

    • But would you do Bargs and the 8th for MKG? Would whomever wins the second pick do it?

      MKG doesn’t have nearly the same hype as Davis has. 8 could still net you Barnes.

      IF Barnes is still available at 8 when the Raps pick (assuming they keep 8) then I wonder if BC would offer Bargs and the 8th pick to whomever picked MKG. Half of me hopes he would. It would be a step back, but potentially a solid step forward. It would also relieve our log jam at PF. Of course, BC would have to take some salary garbage back, so this might not be a good trade.

  9. Maybe would make more sense to use some existing players to go after some forgotten talents.

    Perhaps say, Ed Davis + Demar for Tyreke Evans or something along those lines.

  10. Gotta draft barnes if hes available…FUTURE STAR

  11. If the Raps get the 8th pick I would look to trade down a few spots depending on when Colangelo thinks he can steal Waiters and a future 1st pick. I’ve kept tabs on Barnes from his freshman year and he is average athletically at SF and lacks the motor to get the most of his physical tools like a Brandon Roy. He can’t slash in the NBA and his jump shooting and defense is not good enough for him to ever develop into the star people think he will be.

    I think the Raptors need to get two-way prospects that buy into Casey’s defense first mentality. In the second round there are NBA ready bodies like Jae Crowder or potential NBDL prospects like Will Barton. I’d like to see guys like that getting looks over the 10-day contract fillers picked up down the stretch last season.

  12. I like Bargnani, he is match up nightmare, and with Caseys defensive system Bargs is ok. in any case

    They should trade JC and 8th for Lowry + 14th, Try and get Batum/ilyasova and draft J.Lamb or another prospect SG

    Lowry / Bayless / Uzoh
    Derozan / Forbes / 14th Pick
    (Batum or Ilyasova) / JJ / Klieza
    Bargnani / AJ / Davis
    JV / Gray / Magloire

    Looks like a good lineup to me.

  13. it depends if Batum wants to sign here or not. I would try trading Calderon for Wilson Chandler. thats if they dont land Harrison Barnes.

    Another idea would be to trade bargnani and pick (preferably no pick) for Josh Smith. That would do TO some good!

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