Mar 21, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Jabari Parker (1), guard Rasheed Sulaimon (14) and Duke Blue Devils forward Josh Hairston (15) react on the bench against the Mercer Bears in the first half of a men

2014 NBA Draft – forecast: stormy

Apr 7, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward DeAndre Daniels (2) defends against Kentucky Wildcats forward Julius Randle (30) in the second half during the championship game of the Final Four in the 2014 NCAA Mens Division I Championship tournament at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports


The June 26 NBA Draft was already shaping up to be one of the most dramatic in recent memory, and the latest news only heightens the anticipation. Joel Embiid, the projected #1 selection, is undergoing surgery to repair a broken foot. He’s already been diagnosed with a back problem, so the assumption is he will drop from the marquee slot to perhaps #4. All of the mock drafts are frantically being redrawn, in concert with the usual adjusting which occurs following individual workouts (Elfrid Payton and Doug McDermott are now in the mid-teens…that’s serious zooming) and the Draft Combine.

Our concern is with the Toronto Raptors’ #20 selection. Does the ascension of Andrew Wiggins to the #1 selection have implications for our team? After all, Embiid will still command a Top-4 pick; we’re just shuffling the deck at the top, aren’t we?

I can’t believe that Philadelphia is really going to draft 7 players (2 first-rounders, 5 second-). Rumours were floating that Cleveland’s #1 selection was being floated as trade bait. Cavaliers management may not be as enthralled with Wiggins as others are, and the downgrade of Embiid may be sufficient to cause them to pull the trigger on a trade. The 76ers’ love for Wiggins has been evident for some time, so let’s propose a trade: Philly’s #3, their two highest second-rounders (32 & 39), plus Thaddeus Young for Cleveland’s #1. Cleveland General Manager David Griffin will demand Philly’s #10 selection in lieu of everything else, but 76ers’ GM Sam Hinkie will push back, hard. Embiid may fall into Cleveland’s lap at #3 anyway, but I can’t imagine they would take the chance of purchasing damaged goods when pristine choices (Julius Randle, Dante Exum) are available. Cleveland has just signed a new coach, David Blatt, who presumably would like every opportunity to make an immediate impact. If I were Blatt, I certainly wouldn’t want my early-first-round draft pick sitting on the bench in street clothes and a foot cast during my inaugural season at the helm.

[20-second timeout: As I'm writing, a tweet arrives to the effect that the Utah Jazz are offering the#5 pick and PF Derrick Favors to Cleveland for #1. The Jazz are supposedly in love with Duke swingman Jabari Parker, who won't be around at #5. That deal makes a lot of sense for the Cavs. They can use the #5 on a guard like Marcus Smart or Dante Exum, as they won't need any further help in the front court.]

Let me apologize for the crazy-long tangent, and wrap this up. There are myriad wheels within wheels spinning prior to this Draft, and one blockbuster trade may be all that’s need to get the deal action exploding. Predictions aren’t worth much in such a volatile situation, but I’ll make one anyway. If Raps’ GM Masai Ujiri’s strongest leftovers (T.J. Warren, K.J. McDaniels, Adreian Payne) are gone at #20, watch for him to make a surprise pick. Clint Capela is a giant young European. We struck gold on our last one of those with Jonas Valanciunas. Masai might be happy to pick Capela and stash him overseas to gain floor experience he won’t get with our team, and bulk up.

We certainly aren’t done with Draft discussions. It’s time to hear from you, Rapture Nation. Does the Embiid injury have implications for us I’ve haven’t considered? Please let us know in the Comments.

Tags: Masai Ujiri Toronto Raptors

  • Slap Dog Hoops

    You’re right, Bryan.

    This draft will definitely be the most dramatic and with such a deep draft, Toronto might find themselves a nice sleeper with the 20th pick.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi SDH:
      Yes, there still should be some talent available at #20, unlike most years. For the first time in too long, the Raptors can afford to give this pick, whoever he is, some time to develop. Likewise the two second-rounders.
      Unfortunately the Raps aren’t holding a Draft Night party for season-seat holders as in previous years. I’ll have to stay home and watch the drama unfold on the box. I’ll be tweeting. Watch for trades!
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Mr. Air Canada

    I think the No.20 pick will rely on free agency more than needs for right now. If you think about it, our three biggest interests are most likely Adriane Payne, Tyler Ennis and elfrid Payton. Our best fit according to a lot of people is kyle Anderson. All of these names have a similar game to the free agents. Payne is a stretch 4 like Patterson, Ennis and Anderson play very similar to Vasquez, and elfrid Payton is a stat sheet stuffer just like Lowry(note: the raptors also interviewed at the combine a point guard similar too Lowry, but higher up in the draft, Marcus Smart). I hope the raptors workout with Payton, hood, young, napier and Mcgary

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Mr. AC:
      No argument with what you’re saying. So much smoke would be cleared if we could sign Lowry before the draft, but I don’t think that’s how it works.
      I’m expecting more surprises, up to and definitely including draft night itself.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Guest

    All the Mock Drafts I’ve seen have Zach LaVine heading the Raptors way, and with neither Lowry or Vasquez signed for next year that might just be a safety projection on the mock drafts part. I have, however also seen a lot of rumblings of mutual interest between Lowry and the Miami Heat so picking a Point Guard might be done if there is a talented one available.