The 2013 NBA Draft is coming up this Thursday, June 27th, and the Toronto Raptors are currently without a pick. In case you didn’t know, the Raptors’ pick was sent away to the Houston Rockets, in a trade that acquired Kyle Lowry. Houston then flipped that pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the blockbuster deal that sent James Harden to the Rockets. OKC now holds the 12th pick in the 1st round of the draft, and the Raptors are apparently looking for one.
Masai Ujiri, the recently appointed general manager of the Raptors, reported in his press conferences that he will be looking for any availability of picks in the draft, and they approach this Thursday as if they have a pick. Ujiri has has solid draft history, and calls himself a ‘talent evaluater’ and ‘scout’ more than anything, and it’s evident that the draft is his bread and butter.
Reports from Marc Stein of ESPN, and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! said that Masai Ujiri and the Raptors’ organization will be most likely looking for late 1st round picks and second rounders. Masai pointed out that attaining lottery picks will be hard, considering the need to give up current assets – something he seemed hesitant to do (thankfully).
This year’s draft class, tested extremely well in the combine, and is arguably one of the most athletic draft classes in NBA history. But, this is one of the weakest drafts on paper in NBA history. This is mostly because of the lack of superstar potential, however that doesn’t signify a lack of potential solid players.
With Masai Ujiri coming here, a big skill he brings is being able to have an eye for talent, especially late in the draft. Depending upon where this team’s vision and direction is heading, whether it be a rebuild, a re-tool, or a win-now mindset, investing a lot and giving away assets in return for picks/players in this draft, likely will not benefit the organization too much.
Long story short, for example, no reason to trade Rudy Gay for the number 1 pick in this draft, because there isn’t a player currently with the potential that Rudy has/had. This draft is simply too weak to invest too much into regardless of the team’s direction, however obtaining a late pick from a team unloading it for virtually nothing is definitely a viable option regardless of the team’s direction. See the pattern?
The Raps thinnest position is the point guard spot, where Sebastian Telfair is an expiring contract, and John Lucas III is likely best fit as the third stringer to Lowry. A back-up, or even a new starter at the point guard spot – considering Lowry’s contract year – could be their priority if they get in.
Some notable talent in this draft at the point guard position is Trey Burke from the University of Michigan, Michael Carter-Williams from Syracuse, Dennis Schroeder from Germany, Canadian Myck Kabongo from Texas, Peyton Siva from the 2013 Nation Champion Louisville, Isaiah Canaan from Murray State, and Phil Pressey from Missouri.
Whoever the Toronto Raptors look to target, and even if the Raptors are able to attain a pick in this draft, let’s all hope the rookie will be used to the best of his ability, and not rotting on the bench with Casey’s veteran philosophy.