This the last year we gon be in that lottery thing
— Ed Davis (@eddavis32) May 31, 2012
I posted my immediate reaction to the Raptors staying put at No. 8 earlier on Wednesday night, but in the hours since, some interesting Bryan Colangelo quotes (he held a conference call after the Lottery) have emerged and a couple of guys with reputable draft knowledge have already updated their mock drafts.
First, on those Colangelo quotes.
From Jeff Blair’s Globe and Mail story: “We feel with a player at eight, we can add to our building process, or package it with something else to create a trade asset.”
From Eric Koreen’s National Post story: “I don’t think there’s any option we shouldn’t look at. Again, some of that might come in the form of trades.”
From a Canadian Press story: “We have the flexibility to explore all options and that’s something that we worked hard to get.”
Also in the CP story: “Adding three young draft prospects is not the end of the world but I wouldn’t say it’s the best situation either for our coaching staff. Especially for a coaching staff looking to take a step forward.”
You can watch a Raptors.com post-lottery interview with Colangelo here. In it, B.C. discusses the next month leading up to the Draft, the lottery itself, and even the issue of “tanking” (A Dwane Casey post-lottery interview can be found here).
Obviously, Colangelo is going to be guarded and keep his cards very close to his vest, but strictly from reading those quotes and even if you’ve heard any recent Dwane Casey interviews, it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that a trade involving the Raptors’ No. 8 pick will be heavily considered, and so it should be. As B.C. himself points out, no stone should be left unturned this off-season, given the current position of the team and the amount of flexibility the franchise has created for itself.
I’ve stated in the past that I wouldn’t be opposed to a trade, but I worry about when a deal would have to be completed. For example, if the Raptors were to trade the pick based on the assumption/projection that the player they are acquiring is better than anyone that should be available at No. 8, but then a guy like Harrison Barnes somehow slips to No. 8, I’d be pretty crushed, at least for the time being.
The question then becomes, will the Raptors still be able to get good value for the eighth pick if they wait until the last minute (right until the seventh pick is announced) to close a deal? I guess at the end of the day, we just have to trust in the fact that Colangelo and his team have been doing this for years, and obviously know how to wheel and deal under pressure.
On the other side of the spectrum, if the Raptors decide to keep the pick after all, who will it be at No. 8?
There should be a decent group of prospects to pick between, including players such as Damian Lillard, Dion Waiters, Jeremy Lamb, Kendall Marshall, Terrence Ross, Terrence Jones, Austin Rivers, possibly Perry Jones III, and potentially others who impress between now and June 28.
As I stated in my previous post, we have plenty of time to pour over scouting reports, highlight reels and the works to come to our own opinions on who the next Raptors draft pick should be. In the meantime, some draft gurus have already updated their mock drafts now that the order has been officially set.
ESPN’s Chad Ford has the Raptors selecting Syracuse guard Dion Waiters, and tweeted the following shortly after the lottery results had been revealed:
Raptors: Need someone who can get to basket … Waiters, Lamb, Ross, Lillard seem to be the targets
— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 31, 2012
Meanwhile, Draft Express (Jonathan Givony) now has Jeremy Lamb landing in Toronto. Interestingly enough, both Ford and Givony have Perry Jones III dropping to the Bucks at No. 12.
Let the debate begin…