2025 NBA Mock Draft 1.0: Loaded class must compel Raptors to tank this season

The 2025 NBA Draft is loaded with talent at the top, led by Duke forward Cooper Flagg. The Raptors need to lean into the tank this year to add another star.
Cooper Flagg, 2024 McDonald's All American Game
Cooper Flagg, 2024 McDonald's All American Game / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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A common refrain was heard in the months leading into the 2024 NBA Draft: this was a weak draft class.

That doesn't mean that there weren't talented players involved, or that there won't be All-Stars who emerge from that draft class. But the group of prospects lacked star talent at the top. At least the top four picks from the 2023 Draft would have gone before anyone in 2024; same with the top 3 in 2022, and perhaps the first six or seven in 2021.

This was in large part driven by an extremely weak high school graduating class of 2023. As Sports Illustrated's Kevin Sweeney noted, of the top 15 high school recruits eight stayed in the draft with just four going in the top 15, one went undrafted (Justin Edwards) and all of the seven who stayed in school did so after disappointing seasons.

The fact that it was a "weak class" colored everything that happened; the Toronto Raptors comforted themselves about losing the No. 8 pick with that fact, and teams were not able to trade first-round picks in 2024 for much value, before or on draft night itself.

The 2025 NBA Draft class is drastically different. with plenty of star talent at the top and both a loaded high school class and some intriguing international prospects. There was absolutely no one in the 2024 class it incentivize teams to tank; it's a cornucopia of potential stars to entice teams in 2025, none bigger than Duke-commit Cooper Flagg.

The Toronto Raptors need to lean into the tank

As the Toronto Raptors teeter on the edge of a knife, deciding whether to push in some chips to get better this summer or make this an "evaluation" season as they bring their young talent along slowly, they need to consider that the best version of their team involves another star. It's possible that Scottie Barnes and Immanuel Quickley eventually become good enough to be the No. 1 and No. 2 on a title team, but it's not the most likely outcome. Having another bite at the apple would help this roster immensely.

Who would they be tanking for? Let's take a (very early) look at next year's class. Who are the names to know, and who looks like the future star the Raptors could look to add to their core?