There are a flurry of trades expect in advance of — or during — Thursday’s NBA draft.
It’s not even free-agency season yet, but this week has the potential to dramatically alter the NBA’s landscape.
With rumours of teams like the Sacramento Kings, who own the 2nd overall pick, looking to trade down for an established star, the increased Kawhi Leonard trade demand drama, and a host of other teams looking to jockey for position in order to nab their prospect of choice, you can expect fireworks.
Enter: the Toronto Raptors.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Raptors are pursuing a top-10 pick in the draft, and have their eyes set on Kentucky freshman and Canadian-born point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Raptors GM Bobby Webster said last week that the team is looking to obtain a pick in this year’s draft. The team held several pre-draft workouts for a number of on-the-bubble prospects, and there was an assumption that the club could try to flip future picks or outright purchase a second-rounder on Thursday, if anything.
Needless to say, trading their way into the top-10 of a draft class featuring plenty of intriguing, potential game-changing talent would be a much louder course of action.
Given their current assets, entering the top-10 would likely cost the Raptors an established player and could signal a change-of-direction with the current core and overall direction of the club following a second-straight disappointing playoff exit.
Gilgeous-Alexander is considered by some to be the top point guard in the draft class. At six-foot-six, the Hamilton, Ont., native has a crafty and deliberate offensive game — even though his jump shot is a work in progress — and has the potential to be an elite defender in the backcourt.
In his lone college season, he led Kentucky in assists (5.1) and steals (1.6), and finished second on the team in points (14.4) while tasked with running the Wildcats offense.
In mock drafts Gilgeous-Alexander has been pegged as high as 8th overall.