Apr 30, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;Toronto Raptors forward Landry Fields (2) talks to the Toronto Raptors mascot prior to game five of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Brooklyn 115-113. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Should Raptors bail on this year’s draft?

Mar 21, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Denver Nuggets center J.J. Hickson (7) brings the ball up court during the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. Hickson leads his team with 18 points but leaves the game in the fourth quarter. The Mavericks defeated the Nuggets 122-106. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors are not in the NBA’s draft lottery for the first time in six seasons. I ain’t complainin’ – faithful readers know I detested the concept of tanking, and I’m happy beyond words that our team enjoyed such an extraordinary season. But success comes at a price. Our pick is #20, and history informs us that there aren’t many studs left on the board at that number. Players selected #20 who I can confidently say aren’t going to Springfield’s Basketball Hall of Fame include Alexis Ajinca (2008), Renaldo Balkman (2006), Speedy Claxton (2000), and Paul Grant (1997). The best picks were Jameer Nelson (2004) and Zydrunas Ilgauskas (1996).

While I have great admiration for Masai Ujiri, expecting him to find a quality player even in a deep draft like this one is too much to ask. I’d rather get creative. The pick has value, but perhaps for someone else more than the Raps. How about we package it with Landry Fields’ expiring contract and find a team piling up the picks? Philadelphia and Milwaukee are both more than 2 seasons away from contention, and might be interested in our selection as they rebuild. Would Masai’s old team, the Denver Nuggets, go for a deal like this? They might, given what a disappointing season they endured. The Nuggets may be in a mood to jettison some people, in a change for change’s sake move. We could use J.J. Hickson to shore up our front court. Fields and our pick go the other way, and no money need accompany the deal; the salary cap needle barely moves either way.

This trade is one of many possibilities we could consider. The key point is to recognize that we’re probably young enough as a team, and adding a veteran at the cost of a late draft pick (and Fields too, for whatever he’s worth at this point) is a worthy exchange.

What do you think, Rapture Nation? Do you concur with my premise about being open to trading our pick? Let me know your thoughts, and any trade possibilities, in the Comments.


Tags: Toronto Raptors

  • Jamie Miles

    I would take a serious looks at one of these players in no particular order

    Cleanthony Early
    Jusuf Nurkic
    Kyle Anderson
    and if available

    McDermott (unlikely available though)
    Stauskas (less likelier than Dougie Mac)

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Jamie:
      I would be very interested in reading more details from you on the players you are recommending. I’m not a college hoops guy to the extent I perhaps should be.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • Lazy genius

        Early: typical nba wing in size, height and length. Smooth jumpshot with 3 point range. Could develop into a solid 2 way starter or sixth man.
        Kyle Anderson: 6’9 pg with great vision and good rebounder. Could struggle on defense because of his mobility. Average shot. Big risk but could yield very high reward.
        McDermott: great offensive player with a variety of moves and a deadly 3 point stroke. Will struggle on d due to limited athleticism. Could play the 3 or small ball 4. Kyle Korver type player but bigger and worse defensively.
        Stauskas: great 3 point shooter at the 2 and a very good decision maker with ball. Could become a 3 and D player with excellent passing. Similar to Klay Thompson but a better passer.

        • Newmarket_Brian

          Hi lg:
          I’m liking this Early guy, based on your comments and those of Jamie. I like athletes; they can develop in many different ways.
          Stay in touch, please, and thanks for commenting.

      • Jamie Miles

        McDermott has a more expanded game than Korver. McDermott can post up and operate with his back to the basket. He has average 6.0 and 5.9 FT’s a game the last two seasons so he is more than a jump shooter. I would agree with LG he can be a defensive liability. Anderson is similar to McDermott in his lack of defensive ability but he is huge same size as Patrick or Amir but with PG skills. I would say a good comp for him would be a slightly less athletic version of Boris Diaw. Early is the best athlete of the bunch, he can score both inside and out. Can’t really attest to his D, but he seemed capable. As far as Staukas is concerned, he raised his stock the most. Expanded role with the Wolverines and he proved he was more that 3 P specialist.

        • Newmarket_Brian

          Hi Jamie:
          I’ve watched some film of Anderson. Talk about a risky pick! I don’t know if his unusual game can handle the transition to the speed of the NBA. If it did, he might be quite a player. A long point guard, like Shaun Livingston.
          I’ll keep viewing the others you mentioned.

  • http://www.gamervets.com/ M1GO

    If Casey continues to not play him, I would not be opposed to trading Fields + pick#20 for Thaddeus Young…

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi M1GO:
      I tried your deal on the Trade Machine, and it worked. Whether Philly would donate Young is an open question, but if I were Masai, I’d pitch the deal. Why not? All they can do is say No.
      I’ve heard rumblings of Young being a difficult player to manage. Have you heard anything like that?
      Thanks for commenting.

  • cd hall

    If Masai did what you’re suggesting, he would be trading a 20th pick (in a deep draft) for a 19th pick (jj hickson 2008) in a much weaker draft. Hickson points and playing time have been going down for the last 3 yrs. Why not take Payne (PF) or TJ Warren (SF) at number 20 and keep Landry’s expiring contract till the Feb. trade deadline and use it as an asset then?


      What you say makes sense. If Masai can trade down and still get a player he covets would be okay too. If Lowry doesn’t sign, I think we need to draft PG at this position as a back up to Grevis.

      • Newmarket_Brian

        Hi Finnigin:
        Everything hinges on Lowry’s decision.
        Thanks for commenting.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi cd:
      Hickson is not a great player, but is someone who can help us in the frontcourt. He’s a proven rotation-grade PF, whom we wouldn’t have to wait for. He’s only an example; I’d like to receive more trade possibilities from readers.
      The point of my post is to suggest that expecting value at #20 may be overly optimistic, and we should consider packaging the pick and a player, like Fields, who seems to have no role in Casey’s rotation.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • jj

    lets trade our pick for the first overall!!!

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi jj:
      Sure…and while we’re at it, let’s trade Julyan Stone for LeBron James.
      Thanks for the laugh.

  • Hannah Shepard

    I think the frontcourt is where the most help is needed, or at least, size in general. Kyle Anderson as a 6’9″ PG is a really decent option to go at 20, but I’ve also got my eye on Isaiah Austin out of Baylor; 7’1″ athletic PF that can shoot well and cover as a C if needed. If it was any other draft, I would say it would work to buy out of it, but this year’s draft class is very deep, and even though the team would benefit from veteran guidance, it isn’t and hasn’t been easy swinging free agents to come to Toronto, and taking younger players with no ego is probably a better bet.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Hannah:
      You and I are certainly on the same page about the need for more size. We have no insurance should Jonas go down. You’re not the first to mention Kyle Anderson; I’ll have to get some film on him. This Austin guy might be interesting. Do you think he’ll still be around at #20?
      I think the “free agents won’t come to Toronto” stigma is going away of its own accord. Players will gravitate to a winning team, and we should be one for several years at least. If you have a thought about how and who we can attract as a “veteran guidance” type, please share.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • Hannah Shepard

        Oh yes, Austin’s slated to go in the second round, and though the league isn’t full of alumni blowing up stat sheets that were picked at 20, this season and especially postseason has many players that were drafted in the second round or went undrafted making names for themselves.

        Free agents will come to the team, but at a cost, having to double dip taxes, and the perception of a smaller market may hurt consideration. Marcin Gortat (UFA, WAS) would be a great addition at PF/C, giving that added veteran force when needed, but given that he’s playing out of his head this postseason, his stock has gone up tremendously, as has his cost. Similarly, Jordan Hill (UFA, LAK), while not really a veteran, would still be a really good addition, fits the opening well, and can share time with Amir/Jonas.

  • John

    I think that the Raptors should trade their pick and an expiring for a legitimate small forward. We’ve learnt from the playoffs that the Raptors cannot compete against teams with sizable skilled SFs. Also, the Raptors have glaring limitations in the front court whenever Jonas and Amir leave the floor. Joe Johnson literally destroyed every player that Casey threw at him (with exception of Landry Fields). I’m a huge fan of Thaddeus Young and would be thrilled if the Raptors manage to acquire him to address our limitations at the three spot. If the Raptors weren’t so financially committed to Chuck Hayes and Tyler Hansborough I would say that J.J. Hickson would be an ideal pick up. Also, I just find that acquiring JJ would create too much duplicity with Amir and they would have a plethora of undersized bigs. The Raptors need strength and size at the C to give Jonas a breather. In addition to picking up a legit SF, they need to go after a large banger (preferably 6-10 and over) that can rebound and block shots for 20-25 minutes. They don’t even have to break the bank because I would look for players like: Ryan Hollins or Brandan Wright.

  • Jensan

    Brian, you are missing the point, trade Salmons and Hansborough plus 2 second round picks for Thaddeus plus a better 2nd rounder. Why because Philly does not want any monies on the pay roll. They spend 2 million dollars on the buyout, and since they really only collect 2nd round picks inundate them with 2 more.
    This should satisfy their requirements of setting a league record on MCW plus Nerlen Noels plus 5 2nd round plus 2 First round picks.
    Therefore the salary requirements for next year will remain under 20 milion dollars.
    Philly wins the Donald Sterling award which George Shinn donated the trophy.
    So what do you think about those apples?