3 first-round picks Raptors must target if they get their lottery pick back

The Raptors could get their pick back with some luck.

Toronto Raptors Media Day
Toronto Raptors Media Day / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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The Toronto Raptors do not have control of any draft picks in the 2024 NBA Draft. Not only do Masai Ujiri and the Raptors have to surrender a second-round pick to the Grizzlies, but their first-round pick is currently in line to be sent to the San Antonio Spurs thanks to the Jakob Poeltl trade.

The only way the Raptors can retain their first-round pick is if they somehow end up with one of the top six picks. With the Raptors currently on the fringes of the play-in hunt, it will take a great deal of continued losing to see them fall back into the range where the pick does not convert.

While this seems like a difficult task, the combination of Toronto's issues in the rotation and the potential of blowing things up at the trade deadline, the losses could start flowing quite soon. Some luck from the lottery gods might be needed to secure their prized top pick.

The Raptors have some apparent needs, namely at their guard spots. If Ujiri gets a gift from the hands of fate and is able to regain the team's top draft pick, he needs to hit a home run by making one of these three draft choices with their top six selection.

3 players the Toronto Raptors must draft if they get their first-round pick back.

3. Ja'Kobe Walter, SG, Baylor

The Raptors' lack of quality guard play is hurting them beyond measure this season, specifically the lack of off-ball scoring outside of a pending free agent in Gary Trent Jr. After passing on Baylor alum Keyonte George last draft, the Raptors need to take a look at Walter this year.

Walter went into a Wednesday loss against Duke averaging 14.3 points on 41% from the field and 37% from 3-point range. The 6-5 Walter profiles as a tremendous two-way guard who will use his long arms and frame to both excel as a stationary 3-point shooter and nasty perimeter defender.

The Toronto Raptors could use a guard like Ja'Kobe Walter.

Walter is not the most amazing athlete for the guard position, and it might take some time to figure out what his best role would be on the offensive end. He's a bit of a project for Darko Rajakovic and this coaching staff, but the potential is clear and obvious to anyone who watches the Bears.

Walter is so dynamic and has so much offensive potential that he could start right away on this Raptors team. Unlike Gradey Dick, who needed more defensive sharpness and physicality, Walter's body might be a bit more ready for a professional starting workload.