3 Duke players the Raptors should be watching as future draft prospects

Kyle Filipowski and Jared McCain, Duke Blue Devils
Kyle Filipowski and Jared McCain, Duke Blue Devils / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
1 of 4

The Toronto Raptors still have games left to play this season, and mathematically they have not been eliminated from postseason contention. Even so, it's safe for the team to call time of death on this season and turn their attention to the upcoming offseason and how to build a great Raptors team for the future.

One key element to that construction project is the NBA Draft, and the Raptors have collected a group of young players with some "Blue Blood" heritage. That includes a pair of Kansas alums (Ochai Agbaji and Gradey Dick), a Kentucky guard (Immanuel Quickley) and a pair of former Duke wings, Gary Trent Jr. and RJ Barrett.

The Duke Blue Devils are an NBA Draft pipeline

Duke players have dominated the NBA Draft in recent years and are in every sort of role around the league. In last year's draft the Dallas Mavericks selected Dereck Lively II with the No. 12 pick and he is now starting at center.

In the 2022 NBA Draft Paolo Banchero went first overall and made the All-Star Game in just his second season. Mark Williams is starting at center for Charlotte in his second season. Jalen Johnson was a first-round pick from 2021 and is a candidate for Most Improved Player in his breakout season for the Atlanta Hawks. That doesn't even speak to more established stars like Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving, Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.

That pipeline doesn't appear to be drying up anytime soon, either. As many as seven players on the current Duke roster are likely to be drafted, with another No. 1 class coming next year that may include the top two picks in the 2025 NBA Draft.

With Duke playing its regular season finale this weekend against their rivals, the North Carolina Tar Heels, and then looking ahead to the ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament, their future NBA players will be on full display. The Raptors, armed with at least one and potentially two first-round picks, not to mention one of the best second-round picks, should keep a close eye on the Blue Devils as they consider how to use those picks in June.

Here are three players in particular that the Raptors could end up drafting from the Duke basketball team.