The Toronto Raptors have been making headlines ever since they were eliminated from the play-in tournament. It started with the firing of Nick Nurse, who led them to a championship his first year as head coach and earned Coach of the Year honors.
Following his departure, the news of potential big-time trades circled back once again since the trade deadline, with names like Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby potentially being dealt.
The Portland Trail Blazers and the Houston Rockets are two teams rumored to be making moves for the Raptors’ wings. Portland, holding the 3rd pick in the draft, could include a package deal for Siakam involving young star Anfernee Simons to go along with the pick that could very well be Scoot Henderson.
The Rockets have been linked to both OG and Pascal in various trade scenarios that could see a new backcourt in Toronto if a player like Kevin Porter Jr. is included in the deal. Could a player like Amen Thompson be on his way?
If the Raptors find their backcourt a trade that lands them a top-five draft choice, this could mean Masai Ujiri would start looking at different options for the No. 13 pick if the roster is shaken up before the draft. Any of these three prospects would be expected to make an impact right away with the team looking younger than ever.
3 players the Toronto Raptors could target with 2nd lottery pick
Jordan Hawkins, UConn, SG
Coming off a championship with UConn, Hawkins has seen his draft stock rise ever since, with NBA scouts looking for impactful players. The 6-5 sophomore is one of the best shooters in the entire draft class with special 3-point range and on-ball defense that could fit in with a struggling perimeter shooting Raptors.
Hawkins has said a lot of his shooting inspiration comes from Warriors star Klay Thompson, as his catch-and-shoot game is quite similar. With both VanVleet & Trent Jr. set to hit free agency, Toronto’s front office could be looking to bring in an immediate replacement that could transcend into an elite shooting threat.
GG Jackson, South Carolina, F
Masai Ujiri has been no stranger to showcasing his “Vision 6-9” strategy to the basketball world, and Jackson fits right in with that plan. One of the youngest players in the class, but with a very high scoring upside, the South Carolina freshman is the type of player the Raptors may use their second lottery pick on.
Not your prototypical big man, Jackson fits into the newer playmaking expectations of high-valued forwards. GG has a promising future in the league as a three-level scorer with an explosive play style, but his age does factor in how he could impact the team immediately. He did enough in the SEC as a shot-creating wing that can be paired with Scottie, forming a dangerous young duo.
Leonard Miller, G League Ignite, F
Miller could possibly be a hometown hero for the Raptors as he’s a Canadian-born 6-10 wing that has improved his game greatly last season. Scouts have been eyeing the Scarborough native, as he’s been putting his ball-handling and shot-creating on display in the past few months.
The upside is all there for him as his frame lets him be effective inside and on the perimeter, a key Raptors trait. His hype has only increased, as scouts have highlighted his defensive capabilities as his ultimate strength. A long big wing that can be a force on defense and has shown in recent weeks that his shooting game is underrated, this pick might scream Toronto.