Raptors News: Unending losses, Ben Simmons trade, gambling scandal, stars to sign

Jontay Porter, Toronto Raptors
Jontay Porter, Toronto Raptors / Alika Jenner/GettyImages
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It has been a depressing week for fans of the Toronto Raptors. They kicked it off with a 34-point beatdown in front of their home fans to the Sacramento Kings, lost another home game to the Oklahoma City Thunder, then were embarrassed on the road losing to the Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets.

Some 0-4 weeks are just bumps in the road, but this one felt truly hopeless. This is a Raptors team playing without any of its best players, entirely outmatched against any opponent. They are playing hard, to their and head coach Darko Rajakovic's credit, but it hasn't been enough for weeks. Their losing streak is now 11 games, their longest in years, and they recently had a 10-game stretch that was their worst since the Isiah Thomas days.

Raptors' Lottery Standings Update

The silver lining to the losing streak is that it has put them in position to keep their first-round pick this year. The Raptors owe a Top-6 protected pick to the San Antonio Spurs from the Jakob Poeltl trade and have been in line to give that up for most of the season. Over the weekend, however, the Raptors moved "below" the Memphis Grizzlies in the standings, giving them close to a 50 percent chance of keeping their pick.

Neither the Grizzlies nor the Raptors are ripping off wins right now, so the jostling for that spot could continue until the final week of the season. The Portland Trail Blazers are four wins clear of the Raptors with the 5th-worst record (19 wins to Toronto's 23) so they probably won't win enough to pass them, while on the other side, the Brooklyn Nets have 27 wins and there seems very little chance the Raptors win another four games this season, let alone four more than Brooklyn.

What else is going on with the Raptors? Let's dig into the details as we look at the past, present and future of the franchise. It's Tuesday, so that means it's time for Raptors News!