For the first time since 2013 the Toronto Raptors are slated to enter next week’s NBA draft without any picks. But that may not stop the team from being active participants.
On Friday, Raptors GM Bobby Webster said that the club is looking to acquire a pick in next Thursday’s draft.
“We’ll approach it as far as, first off, is there any way to get into the draft?” Webster said during an appearance on Sportsnet 590 The FAN’s Starting Lineup on Friday morning.
Despite not having a pick, the Raptors have still held several pre-draft workouts featuring many players who are on the bubble in terms of whether or not their name will be called at the draft.
There are a handful of opposing teams well-positioned to move a pick.
The Atlanta Hawks, for example, have three first-round picks this year, while the Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers, and Oklahoma City Thunder all have multiple picks in the second round and could be willing to leverage one for cash, a future pick, or even to take a flier on a player like Norman Powell, who fell out of the Raptors rotation last season.
Reports recently surfaced that the Memphis Grizzlies would field offers for a package centred around the fourth overall pick and free agent bust Chandler Parsons, who is owed $49 million over the next two seasons. Obviously a trade like that would require a player like DeMar DeRozan to go the other way and would add layers of complexity in the decision-making process, but the point is there are several potential options for the Raptors to obtain a pick somewhere in the 2018 draft.
And if that opportunity doesn’t present itself?
“Then,” said Webster, “you have your list of who are the top undrafted guys. There are 60 guys who get drafted and it’s not the exact 60 you had ranked as your organization’s top 60. So you’re looking to see if any of the guys you evaluated you think about differently, and if your scouts have different opinions on guys that don’t get drafted.
“Literally after that 60th pick is called, we’ll call up a few agents and players and gauge their interest in coming [to the Raptors] based on the situation we can offer.”
The Raps have struck gold on undrafted players in the past, the most recent example of course being point guard Fred VanVleet, who made Toronto’s roster out of training camp last season and is a finalist for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award to be announced later this month.
VanVleet is a restricted free agent this summer, and while league rules dictate he isn’t allowed to publicly discuss specifics, Webster eluded to the fact that the team would like to re-sign the point guard:
Toronto’s first-round pick in 2018 belongs to the Brooklyn Nets, surrendered in a trade that also sent DeMarre Carroll to Brooklyn for cap relief. Their second-rounder belongs to the Suns as part of the P.J. Tucker trade deadline deal last season.