On the outside looking in: The last 5 post-lottery draft picks by the Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors will be drafting outside of the lottery in the 2024 NBA Draft. What has been their history drafting late in the first round?
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver poses for a pick with Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby, the 23rd overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver poses for a pick with Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby, the 23rd overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft / Mike Stobe/GettyImages
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After a season filled with uncertainty, Toronto Raptors fans can close the books on at least one of the unknowns, as the Jakob Poeltl trade is officially finalized. In what was one of the most talked about scenarios of the 2024 season, there was a 53 percent chance that the Raptors would have to surrender their 2024 first-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs to complete the 2023 trade deadline move – and of course, that extra 3 percent seemed to go a long way.

Now, this could turn out to be a good thing for the franchise. Toronto no longer has to worry about the possibility of surrendering next year's pick, in what is supposed to be a much stronger class, while still holding the 19th and 31st picks in this year's draft.

If there’s anything that Raptors President Masai Ujiri and GM Bobby Webster are known for, it’s their knack for finding premium talent later in the draft. 

Let’s take a look back at the last five times the Raptors drafted outside the top 14. To keep things relatively similar to the No. 19 and 31 spots Toronto will be selecting this summer, we will analyze the last five picks chosen between 15-35 and see how things turned out. 

33rd Overall Pick: Christian Koloko (2022)

We start with the most recent pick (which also happens to be the hardest to truly grade) in Cameroon-native and former Arizona Wildcat, Christian Koloko. 

With their only pick in the 2022 draft, the Raptors went after someone they desperately could’ve used in their 2021 playoff series with the 76ers – a true 7-footer. 

Koloko was coming off three seasons in college, averaging 12.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and a whopping 2.8 BPG. Unlike most second-rounders, Koloko was almost a guarantee for rotation minutes given the lack of center depth on the Raptors roster and started in eight of his first 13 NBA games. 

The 22-year-old rookie finished the season with averages of 3.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, and 1.0 BPG, but he never looked entirely comfortable on the offensive end, shooting just 63 percent from the free-throw line and just 1-of-12 from three. As the 33rd pick, Koloko definitely showed he could hang around as a backup center, but his ceiling may have been exposed, given his struggles to break away from being a one-dimensional player.

After sitting out the entire 2023-24 campaign with health issues, the Raptors eventually waived Koloko as a part of the deal that sent Pascal Siakam to the Indiana Pacers in January.

With only one “big name” left on the board at the time, and with former G-League Ignite guard Jaden Hardy eventually drafted 37th, I believe the Koloko pick was a good (but not great) choice and could’ve worked well for the Raptors had injuries not played a factor.