Toronto Raptors Draft history: 5 times the Raps drafted a star

Toronto Raptors, NBA Finals, Pascal Siakam(Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Raptors, NBA Finals, Pascal Siakam(Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Pacsal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
TAMPA, FLORIDA – APRIL 21: Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

July 29’s NBA Draft is the next major event on this year’s NBA calendar, and the Toronto Raptors will select No. 4 overall, barring a trade.

Historically, Toronto has been good about keeping their draft selections, only failing to draft a first-round prospect four times in their 26-year history to this point. The Raptors are an organization that has reached a crossroads, as they could decide to blow up the roster and build anew around whoever ends up getting picked No. 4 overall.

History also reveals that Toronto has done well at the NBA Draft as an organization, especially under the current management regime. There have been misses, but players like Tracy McGrady, Damon Stoudamire, and Marcus Camby got their NBA careers started in Toronto in addition to their homegrown stars.

Recently we profiled five times the Raptors got it wrong at the NBA Draft, so in anticipation of the 2021 Draft, here’s a look at five times Toronto got it right on Draft Night selecting a star player.

5 times the Toronto Raptors nailed it in the 2021 NBA Draft.

5. PF Pascal Siakam, 2016 NBA Draft, No. 27 overall

Due to his struggles since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Siakam has taken some heat and done little to suppress trade rumors. However, when Ujiri selected the New Mexico State product at No. 27 in the 2016 NBA Draft, did anyone expect him to be a significant contributor on a championship team three years later?

The reality is many players selected late in the first-round or second-round are projects, and many are forgotten about three years later. However, a review of the selections during the 2016 NBA Draft suggests strongly that Siakam should have been the #1 selection in hindsight that year.

Siakam started in 38 games as a rookie averaging just 4.2 points per game. By the Raptors’ Championship season, his third in the NBA, Siakam was averaging 16.9 points per game, became the NBA’s MIP, and played Robin to Kawhi Leonard’s Batman in the 2019 NBA Finals.

He averaged 19.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in that series, scoring 32 points on 14/17 shooting in Game 1. At age 24, Siakam was not blinded or scared by the bright lights on the grandest stage in the NBA.

From day one as a Raptor, his most endearing attribute was his motor. It just feels like he’s always running, always working hard no matter the score. His place on this list is because he has achieved more than any other young Raptors’ prospect picked in this range ever has, and he is only 26 years old.