For the first time since 2008, the Toronto Raptors have made the playoffs and failed to qualify for the NBA lottery. The Raptors hold the 20th pick along with the 37th pick acquired from the Sacramento Kings and the 59th pick acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder. So with three picks in the 2014 draft, there are many decisions that have to be made. Should they trade the picks? Who should they draft?
Building the team through the draft has always been a method the Raptors have used to bring talented players to Toronto but it may not be the solution this time. This draft has been labeled the best draft since 2003, and one of the deepest drafts we have seen. Although there have been successful players picked 20th (Zydrunas Ilagauskas, Zach Randolph, Jameer Nelson) most players picked at that position fail to last long in the league including Dion Glover, Renaldo Balkman and Julius Hodge. A much more practical use would be using the skyrocketed stock of the pick to get a useful player. This could help us fill the void for a back-up centre. A potential trade would be the Raptors package Nando De Colo (if they resign him) and the 20th pick to Brooklyn for Andray Blatche, who would be a respectable back-up who can stretch the floor.
If Ujiri does decide to use the pick and select a player, we can only hope that he will pull a rabbit out of his hat and get a quality player. Some strong options would include:
Cleanthony Early- Small Forward
Early, the Wichita State forward would be a sensible player to nab in the end of the first round. Likely to still be on the board when the Raptors pick, Early would be a favourable back-up for Terrence Ross and could possibly take control of the starting position if he lives up to his potential. He can use his athleticism to find his niche as a solid two-way player in the league as he has good lateral quickness with a good three point shot and a refined post-up game
Tyler Ennis- Point Guard
With the future of point guards Kyle Lowry, Greivis Vasquez and Nando De Colo still up in the air, Ennis could be a safety net for the Raptors if the current point guards leave in free agency. Ennis, a Brampton native, is not an elite scorer but possesses fantastic passing ability as well as great intangibles like his leadership and composure. This would be huge boost for the Raptors offensively off the bench or even as a starter if Kyle Lowry is not brought back.
K.J McDaniels- Small Forward
McDaniels, an underrated player coming out of Clemson University has fantastic potential as well as a very well round player who averaged 17.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks could be a big piece for the Raptors if they chose to select him. Although he is undersized at 6’6, he makes up for it with extreme athleticism. If he is selected by the Raptors, he could very well take over the starting small forward role if he lives up to his potential.
I guess we will just have to wait and see what the Raptors do on draft day.