3 Draft gems just waiting for the Raptors to mine them

The Toronto Raptors have a history of uncovering gems in the NBA Draft. Can they do so again in the 2024 draft this year?
Tristan Da Silva, Colorado
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The headlines about the 2024 NBA Draft have been declaring doom-and-gloom for years, stating that this year's class is weak, unexciting and not worth investing in. Some NBA teams have even appeared to trade away draft picks in this year's draft for future ones to avoid taking players from a "weak" class. The Toronto Raptors may have even ascribed to this approach when they sent a late first-round pick in 2024 to the Utah Jazz for Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji, thus reducing their stock in a weak draft class.

The problem with that label is twofold: first, it's extremely difficult to predict the strength of a draft class ahead of time. If teams could perfectly predict the quality of every player then they would draft the right players in the right order. Some draft classes thought to be weak end up stronger than expected, and vice versa.

The other problem is that declaring a draft class to be "weak" is really saying there are fewer/no "can't miss" stars at the top of the draft. There is no Victor Wembanyama, Chet Holmgren or Paolo Banchero this year. Yet that doesn't mean that there won't be stars who emerge unexpectedly later in the draft (the weak 2013 draft class still produced Giannis Antetokounmpo and Rudy Gobert), and it doesn't mean the 2024 draft class isn't deep with starters and rotation players throughout the first round.

Even after offloading the Thunder's 2024 first-round pick at the trade deadline, the Raptors may have as many as three picks in the first 31 picks of the 2024 NBA Draft. Which players undervalued on draft boards could be the perfect gems for the Raptors to mine and add to a growing young core?

No. 3: Harrison Ingram, North Carolina

Once upon a time Harrison Ingram was one of the top players in his high school class and a fixture in the lottery of draft boards, but he had a truly terrible freshman season at Stanford that knocked him out of first round consideration.

Ingram then reinvented himself at North Carolina and showed flashes of what he could be at the NBA level. He isn't going to be an on-ball star, but as a supporting player he could be the perfect fit for the Toronto Raptors to fit around their on-ball creators.

Ingram is 6'7" and looks like the kind of defensive player who can guard multiple positions and execute a variety of defensive systems. He rebounds well, is an excellent passer and has improved as a shooter. Ingram should be able to operate as both a 3-and-D play finisher and a playmaker at the elbows or as a roll man.

Players with draft pedigree who fall down draft boards or wait to come out are some of the best values to target, and the Raptors would be smart to take a close look at Ingram and see if he would be the right option to take with the 31st pick.