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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Laying out the trade proposal

Bleacher Report recently wrote a 2024 NBA Mock Draft that included trades, and one of the deals they outlined involved the Toronto Raptors trading into the Lottery to essentially recover the pick they lost in the Jakob Poeltl deal.

The trade partner was the Memphis Grizzlies, who hold the No. 9 pick in this year's draft but have a roster that is ready to win after a down year. Jakob Poeltl would seem like the ideal archetype for a player to slot next to Jaren Jackson Jr. in the frontcourt and replace the departed Steven Adams.

Here's what the trade looks like:

Poeltl Memphis No. 9

The Memphis Grizzlies started last season with starting center Steven Adams and backup center Brandon Clarke both on the shelf, forcing All-Star big Jaren Jackson Jr. to slide over and primarily play the 5. His defensive impact slipped as he lost his shot-blocking partner; he excelled the year before, when he won Defensive Player of the Year, roving the court with Adams or Clarke on the back line.

The Grizzlies will be looking to get that impact back this summer, and Poeltl would be a reasonable shot at doing so. The seven-foot center is a mountain in the paint and both deters shots and deflects the ones that are taken. On offense, he doesn't have the best finishing ability in traffic, but as a lob partner for Ja Morant he would be a strong addition.

Trading a Top 10 pick for a role player like Poeltl may seem like an overpay, but given the perceived strength of the 2024 Draft there won't be a lot of better options. This deal gives the Grizzlies a win-now option at center as they look to bounce back around a core of Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Marcus Smart and Jaren Jackson Jr.

If this deal makes sense for the Grizzlies, does it make sense for the Raptors?