The Toronto Raptors have no picks on June 27. Our first-rounder was traded to Houston (as was Gary Forbes who when last heard from was playing in China) for Kyle Lowry. The Rockets flipped the pick as part of the James Harden deal, so now Oklahoma City will be choosing in the Raps’ spot at #12. The Thunder needs more young talent like America needs more handguns, but c’est la vie. Our second-round pick was tossed to Memphis as part of the Rudy Gay acquisition.
I’m comfortable with the situation. The Raps had three rookies last season (Terrence Ross, Jonas Valanciunas, Quincy Acy), all of whom worked out. They are still very young, so there’s no fretting here about how the team is getting long in the tooth. If there ever was a draft class in which to not have a pick, it’s this one. Pundits are all over the place on who’s going to go #1, and the situation is no clearer with the later selections. While there has been some speculation in the Toronto press that new Raps’ GM Masai Ujiri might want to trade into the draft, I’d be very surprised if he did so. It’s simply too late in the process.
The draft will not be devoid of interest for those of us north of the 49th parallel, as there are several Canadians projected to be selected in the lottery. Anthony Bennett (UNLV) and Kelly Olynyk (Gonzaga) will help the front courts of whichever team grabs them. Myck Kabongo (Texas) has fallen well down the table, and is projected as a late second-rounder. He’s been the subject of much criticism for his lapse in judgement which led to a suspension by the NCAA, but I like him, and hope he slips out of the draft entirely. If so, the Raps can sign him as a free agent, which I think would be a coup for a point-guard-light team.
We’ll be watching the draft as always this year, but not from our usual haunts in the public square outside the Air Canada Centre. The Raps aren’t holding a party, for the first time I can remember. To fans of every other team: Enjoy the night, and good luck with your New Kids In Town.