3 Storylines that will emerge over the remainder of the Toronto Raptors' season

Immanuel Quickley, Toronto Raptors
Immanuel Quickley, Toronto Raptors / Cole Burston/GettyImages
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36 days remain in the regular season for the NBA's 30 teams. For some, those six weeks mean a grueling fight to come out on top in the standings, either to secure homecourt advantage or avoid the Play-In Tournament. For the Toronto Raptors, however, the postseason is all but out of reach.

That doesn't mean the rest of the season has no meaning, however. The Raptors are still jockeying for position, it's just that their fight is for lottery positioning. Their time is not spent tinkering lineups to test them for the playoffs, but rather evaluating their roster for the future.

What storylines will emerge over the remainder of the season for the Raptors? Let's look at three that will have a significant effect on Toronto's future and are yet to be written.

Storyline No. 3: Will they keep their pick?

This is likely the most important storyline in terms of wins and losses for the Raptors over the next two months. They traded a top-6 protected first-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft at last year's trade deadline to bring in Jakob Poeltl. Interestingly enough, with Poeltl joining Scottie Barnes on the shelf due to injury, the possibility of keeping that pick is now in play.

Toronto is currently seventh in the "reverse" standings; that is, they own the league's seventh-worst record. If they finish in that position they would have a 31.9 percent chance to leap up into the Top-4 at the Draft Lottery and keep their pick, but they would likely give up the seventh or eighth pick in the draft. They are one win "behind" (as in they have won one more game then) the Memphis Grizzlies, so if they are more than a game worse than Memphis they could increase their odds by finishing sixth in the lottery standings. The Portland Trail Blazers have six fewer wins, so sixth is likely as low as they can go.

This is not considered to be a particularly strong draft, but the Raptors could use another Top-10 pick to add to their roster. Anytime your pick is protected at a certain line it's painful to just miss it and give up the most valuable type of pick you possibly could. How the standings lay out, and how the NBA Draft Lottery goes on May 12th, will be an important and tense storyline to watch.