The Toronto Raptors improved at the NBA Draft, drafting Kansas sharpshooter Gradey Dick with the No. 13 overall pick and signing Kansas State standout Markquis Nowell almost as soon as the draft ended.
The Raptors didn’t make a blockbuster trade on draft night as many thought they would, but it’s hard to look at their haul and not be impressed with what they did. Masai Ujiri and company stuck to their guns and selected Dick with their rare lottery pick and picked up March Madness phenom and former Kansas State star Nowell as a UDFA.
There is no doubt that Toronto is a better roster after the draft, filling big needs. Dick is a big two-guard who fills a shooting need that the Raptors were missing all of last season. Nowell is a sneaky good pickup, with the point guard position being such a question mark. An undersized point guard with lots to prove has worked out well for the Raptors in the past.
Now that the draft is complete and the free agency/trade rumors surrounding names like Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam are swirling, it’s time to take stock of this roster and see what exactly the rotation would look like
Raptors projected starting lineup and rotation:
Point Guard: Free agent point guard | Scottie Barnes? | Malachi Flynn | Markquis Nowell
Shooting Guard: OG Anunoby | Gary Trent Jr
Small Forward: Scottie Barnes | Gradey Dick | Otto Porter
Power Forward: Pascal Siakam | Chris Boucher
Center: Jakob Poeltl | Precious Achiuwa | Christian Koloko
Barring a massive offseason trade, three spots in the starting lineup are locked up between Siakam, Barnes, and Anunoby. Free agency will determine how the rest of the lineup will look.
The squad will have some key free agents hit the market in VanVleet and Jakob Poeltl. How would the Raptors handle a VanVleet departure? Would they look to sign his replacement in free agency? Could the Raptors have their future lead guard internally in Barnes?
Given the draft capital surrendered up to re-acquire Poeltl, his departure seems less likely, although can’t be ruled out. Could the Raptors have to move back to a small-ball lineup with Siakam back at center, and sliding Trent or Dick into the starting 5? Or do they see an avenue for Achiuwa or Koloko to bring starter-caliber minutes?
Toronto will get the chance to answer these questions with a big free agency period ahead, but their offseason is off to a solid start after a good draft.