Feb 10, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) is fouled by New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) as he shoots at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Pelicans 108-101. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Raptors & their #20 pick – more considerations


Jan 22, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Dallas Mavericks guard-forward Vince Carter (25) keeps the ball away from Toronto Raptors guard Greivis Vasquez (21) during the first half at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

 

My thanks to so many of you who have checked in with the names of players who the Toronto Raptors might select with their #20 selection in the June 26 draft. Let’s give the matter further thought.

NBA General Managers often suffer from herd mentality; I suspect because they’re afraid of criticism. The belief that a team should pick the best player available at their turn, regardless of positional need, appears so ingrained as to be above discussion. Yet I’ll quibble regardless. This BPA notion was hammered into stone tablets and brought down from the mountaintop following the 1984 draft in which Sam Bowie was selected ahead of Michael Jordan. Omigawd, how could anyone select Sam Bowie ahead of the greatest basketball player of all time? Well, I’ve done some reading of the pre-draft analysis of both players, and it was not at all clear to the best hoops minds that MJ was the top player regardless of position. While MJ was Rookie of the Year in ’84-’85, his best period of play was the nineties, which he owned. [20-second timeout: Note the Houston Rockets selected Hakeem Olajuwon #1, a choice they never had reason to regret. Bowie, whose career was ruined by injuries, was #2 and Jordan #3.]

My biggest complaint about “pick the best player” is a simple one – who’s to say who the best player is? Unless there’s a clear-cut standout, like Anthony Davis in ’12 or LeBron James in ’03, and your team has the #1 selection, the matter is debatable. Consider the Raps in ’06. We got lucky on the ping pong balls, got to choose #1 for the only time in our team’s history, and selected Andrea Bargnani instead of LaMarcus Aldridge. There was a lot of clamoring for Adam Morrison, who was selected #3 and became a notorious bust. Or how about two of the choices ahead of #5 selection Vince Carter in ’98 – Michael Olowakandi and Raef LaFrentz? Have you seen their names up in lights lately?

I suggest that “best player available” becomes even more fallacious the later the team’s selection; to be specific, the Raps’ #20 pick. Is it likely there will be someone with a neon light flashing “Here I am – the BPA” at that spot? Not a chance, so then we must consider two other possibilities: a project player a la Bismack Biyombo and Hasheem Thabeet, or a player at a position where we’re thin. For my money, it’s the latter. If we’re keeping the pick, let’s zero in on the power forward/centre position.

I’ve got some more thoughts on this matter, but I’d like to hear from you, Rapture Nation.

Tags: Featured Popular Toronto Raptors

  • Ramneek

    If the Raptors choose to keep the pick, and decide to zero in on the PF/C position mentioned above, I don’t see where they could go wrong with drafting MSU’s Adreian Payne. Well polished player with great inside and outside game, and has great physical and athletic gifts. Only downside is that he’s 23. Also, I have not seen him any higher than the 18th pick on any mock drafts or boards. Thoughts anybody?

    • cd hall

      23 is still young and he is more NBA ready than most younger players in the draft. If he is drafted at the #20, he will still fit a Raptor need! One must remember the depth of the draft and take into account team needs of cities who will draft before the Raps.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Ramneek:
      I’m probably more than a week away from being ready to make my selections. I’ve got a lot of college kids’ film to review.
      You aren’t the first person to mention Payne, so he’ll be getting extra attention from me. I’m glad you noted his age. That’s an extremely important factor when trying to determine how much growth potential a draft pick has.
      Stay in touch, please.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • Ramneek

        Also let’s not forget about that #37 pick, which could be used on Glenn Robinson III if still available. He’s only 20, and he’s just as athletically gifted, if not more, as the highly heralded A. Wiggin. Let’s also not forget that had GRIII entered last years draft he was seen to be a lottery pick. I know, I know last years draft isn’t considered the greatest, but this young man still has a ton of upside, and would fill our needs for a backup SF. Picking him in the second round I feel would be an absolute steal!

  • cd hall

    The Raps need help at SF,Centre and PF (assuming they resign Lowry).At #20 they can take whichever position Masai believes the Raps need most! PF at #20 could be Payne or if Masai thinks SF at #20 look at Grant ,TJ Warren,Hood etc. But then look at Stokes at #37 for help in the low post! At #59 look at someone like Young (Florida) or the best centre still available.

    • Ramneek

      thoughts on #20 Payne, #37 Glenn Robinson III, and #59 Patric Young?

      • cd hall

        Love your thinking! Not too many Rap fans could make a good argument AGAINST this on draft night!!!!

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi cd:
      We’re on the same page about the need for help in the front court. I think we’re OK on the wing, even if we dump Salmons, as I think we will. Unless Masai decides there’s a hidden SF gem still on the board at #20, I continue to believe he’ll go with a big man.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Jensan

    Payne played the last three months of college ball with Mono, his health has returned and he would be a beast on the blocks, don’t think is quick enough for the three, Jerami Grant, will be a slashing 3, or TJ Warren who I really like out of N Carolina State who could play the three, and understands the words man to man defense.
    2ND Pick can be a PG/SG like Nick Johnson, who plays great defense and was player of the year ahead of Aaron Gordon, he is 6’2 1/2, but can leap out of the gym, great 3rd guard, and you save 1.4 million from Nano de Colo salary.
    3rd Pick best Big Man available maybe the kids out of LSU -6’9 -125kg. Beast down low, or trade the pick for another one for next year, or stash an European.
    Just remember the Raptors have depth already with Hayes, Fields and Novak who are your #8, 9 and 10 men on the bench if you re-sign Lowry ,Vasquez and Patterson and reup Amir, in addition to JV, DD, T Ross bef. So your 2nd pick in the 2nd round will mean Diddley squat. With the previous 10 plus your #1 and #2 pick in the draft you have 12 players and room for one free agent backup Center and a wingman.
    Say bye bye to Salmons , De Colo, Stone and Buycks and Psycho.
    Assuming that you have Lowry for 4/44 your Salary Cap for the 12 players including Camby and the 2 million dollars for buyouts -$ 59.5 million dollars if you consider extending Vasquez and Patterson going forward for three years each, but their restricted salary is what it is for this year ($7.5).

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Jensan:
      I really need to zero in on this Payne guy – all my readers seem to love him, and think he’ll be available at #20.
      I don’t like saying bye-bye to De Colo. He’s not that expensive, he’s versatile and experienced. I’m not so concerned about Psycho T, although I would like at least one nasty-boy type on the roster. The others are gone.
      So many moving parts, but everything hinges on Lowry’s decision.

  • Phil Verhey

    #37 Melvin Ejim, dymamic, highly intelligent, mature, determined player of the year (beat out Wiggens), at combine ran 2nd best 3.14sec. 3/4 sprint which is faster than chris paul and steph curry… he hit well over 40% this year from 3pt line and 18/25 from the NBA combine line… 35″ leap… single game point record… all that at small forward is a dramatic upgrade over Salmons. He can run transition, catch the double swing pass in the corner for an open three and drive baseline to dunk or dish into the lane behind the help… they say his first step is slow, but thats silly…he doesnt need one.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Phil:
      Melvin is Canadian, as well. He looks like a ‘tweener to me. Can he defend? Versatile, high-character players are always welcome on my team.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Jensan

    Deciding which 1st Round Pick to give up, if we are not giving up Amir Johnson instead of Fields because Amir Johnson is a player who can be in the Rotation for G.S. WHERE Fields, is not there and will be a 1 million dollar vet in the future.

    Ok, this is a rehash, however, what happens if you give up Salmons, Hansborough, Fields (16.5 million) and the 20th pick of 2014 for Harrison Barnes and David Lee,
    Lowry (resigned at 4/44), DD, Barnes, Lee and JV-42.6 million Vasquez, TRoss, Johnson, PP, -16 million
    Deep Bench – DeColo, Hayes, Novak, 2nd Round Pick- 12 million. 70 million dollars for 13 players for 2014

    Lowry, DD, Barnes, Lee, JV- 45 million, Vasquez , TRoss, PP plus 1st Round Pick- 13 million. Deep Bench-?
    58 Million dollars for 9 Players for 2015.

    That is why I believe make the trade for Salmons, Hansborugh, Fields and the pick from 2015 or 2016-1st Round.

    Allows you to draft Adrien Payne to protect if Amir Johnson does not go forward with you……

  • AM

    I don’t think Payne’s age would be a deterrent. 23 is still young and having a little more playing experience won’t hurt his stock. An athletic 6’10 with a decent shooting touch to work on, I’d be happy with that pick.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi AM:
      I’m having difficulty envisioning where Payne fits. Unless I’m missing something, he’s Patrick Patterson without the defensive mobility. I suppose Payne could be rotational insurance, but is he really worth a first-round pick? Your further comments welcome.
      Regards,
      Brian

      • AM

        I don’t think it’s worth our pick either. I saw his name come up a couple times here and if for some reason he was the pick, then sure. I wouldn’t necessarily mind it, but other positions need to be addressed. I agree with you, we need a big man. Once JV is out, there is a lack of a presence (length and height) on the court at the 5.

        • Tshhh

          I don’t think Payne fits either. He’s tall and can shoot from distance – but he’s not very athletic and has poor defensive instincts. We need size and defence in the middle from our youth, more than we need a big spot up shooter.

  • Tshhh

    I’ve looked at a lot of the prospects projected near our slot, and at 20 – a kid named KJ McDaniels really stands out to me. I liken him to have a chance at being the next Kawhi Leonard. He’s got a prototype SF body, at 6’6” and 200 with ridiculous athleticism. Standing only 6’6” – he actually averaged 2.8 blocks a game! Yes, you read that right. He also averaged 17 pts and 7.1 rbs a game. His outside shot needs work – as he’s only currently a 30% 3pt shooter – but that’s still something to work with.

    An athletic swingman that can defend is one of the raptors big needs – and KJ certainly seems to have some serious potential.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Tshhh:
      I’ve heard about this McDaniels guy, but haven’t spent a lot of time looking at film of him. I’ll do that shortly. Thanks for the heads-up.
      P.S. A swingman averaging 2.8 blocks a game? I like that.
      Thanks for commenting.