Cooper Flagg and 2025 Draft class should force Raptors to consider unusual strategy

Raptors should approach next season with unusual strategy.
Toronto Raptors, Cooper Flagg
Toronto Raptors, Cooper Flagg / Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors have missed the playoffs two straight years and are fresh off winning 25 games. Their reward was giving their lottery pick to the Spurs from the Jakob Poeltl trade. Pascal Siakam was traded to Indiana, and OG Anunoby is in New York. The Raptors are rebuilding, but fans expect improvements next season.

The franchise just gave massive contracts to Scottie Barnes and Immanuel Quickley. Their young point guard is making as much as MVP candidates, and Toronto would love to see him blossom. They have talent and could push for the Play-In Tournament, but now is not the time.

Spending aside, the Raptors should tank because the 2025 draft class is special. Cooper Flagg solidified himself as the top prospect playing for USA Basketball’s Select Team, but he is far from the only franchise-changer in this class.

The 2025 Draft class is worth the Raptors tanking

Flagg shined against the NBA’s best players this week, but Ace Bailey and Dylan Harper are still in the running to be the top selection. Both project as multiple-time All-Stars if they reach their ceilings. VJ Edgecombe just had a strong showing for the Bahamas in Olympic Qualifying and Nolan Traore is another potential star. All five players would have been the unquestioned number-one pick in the 2024 draft.

Scottie Barnes was an All-Star at 22 years old, but he may never be a top-five player in the league. Even if he reaches his peak, the Raptors need a second star to be serious contenders. Finishing at the bottom of the standings ensures the franchise a top-five pick and an elite prospect in the 2025 draft. That is a bold move for Toronto, but one the franchise must consider.

The Raptors will start the season trying to win games, but should not be opposed to tanking in the second half. Increasing those lottery odds slightly may be the difference between landing Cooper Flagg or picking outside the top ten.

The Toronto Raptors may be tempted to sneak into the Play-In Tournament after handing out nearly $400 million to its two building blocks this offseason, but that is a mistake. They should maximize their chances of landing Cooper Flagg or the other top players in the 2025 draft. The Spurs do not regret drafting Victor Wembanyama and a stealth tank may be enough to get a future star to Canada next June.