Grade the Trade: Raptors flip big man for Top 10 draft pick in blockbuster mock deal

The Toronto Raptors lost their Top 10 pick, but there is a pathway to trading back up and flipping an expensive veteran for a high-upside draft prospect
Cody Williams, Colorado Buffaloes
Cody Williams, Colorado Buffaloes / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages
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The Dallas Mavericks are a surprise entrant in the NBA Finals, resetting their entire roster in less than two years and making a run from the No. 5 seed to win the Western Conference. They did so in part because they employ one of the two or three best players in the world, but they also deploy a unique pairing in the frontcourt: two traditional centers.

Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively II form a tandem that allow the Mavs to always have a rim protector on the court defensively, and then on offense a perfect lob catching threat to pair with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. As teams see what the Mavericks have accomplished they will surely look to the free agent and trade markets to see how they can copy them. That could open up a golden opportunity for the Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors could trade Jakob Poeltl

The Raptors have one of those traditional centers, bought at a severe price at the 2023 Trade Deadline. Jakob Poeltl is clearly loved by this front office, so it's not obvious that they would be open to trading him -- especially if they look to the Mavericks' success and want to emulate it. Yet Poeltl is also much older than the rest of Toronto's young core, a core that isn't ready to compete for championships yet.

The Raptors may be better off capitalizing on a trade market looking for capable rim protecting centers and trading Poeltl, maximizing his value and getting younger in the process. They will eventually need to get a center of their own, but they can be patient and allow a better opportunity to come their way.

Let's look at a trade that was recently proposed for the Raptors to move Poeltl for a Top 10 draft pick and whether it is the right opportunity to take advantage of.