The one thing that stood out for me in the Bryan Colangelo state of the Raptors address was the desire to acquire a 2nd first round pick. It makes a lot of sense to me. Now if you have that second pick your options become a lot more open on what you can do with you pick at 9. Just for an example let's say the Raptors take Jonny Flynn or Ty Lawson at #9. Both should be their if you scan the mock drafts. If you were able to acquire a pick in the late teens or early 20's you could select a player like a Sam Young. Young was here for a workout but was injured during testing for his vertical jump. That would make a dynamic duo for the Raptors to add to the mix. In a draft with a lot of point guards/shooting guards in the mix it makes sense for the Raptors to look at those guys. Roko Ukic has not done enough to not look at it. But the desperate need for a legit wing player makes it almost required for the Raptors to have 2 first round picks to address both.
If the Raptors won the draft lottery that would offer a different issue as it would be hard to pass on a talent like Hassem Thabeet who would make a quality option at the 5 coming off the bench behind Bosh and and Bargnani. There is also Ricky Rubio who Jose Calderon knows well. But the odds of the Raptors winning the lottery are very long and it would seem highly unlikely they get lucky. That being said the odds of the Chicago Bulls were long as well last year. Magically they won the lotto and low and behold the hometown kid Derrick Rose was there for the taking. This is good news for Thunder fans if you believe that the lottery is not on the up and up. The fact that Blake Griffin went to Oklahoma is playing in your favour. It would be good news for Griffin as well does anyone really want to have to go play for the Sacramento Kings who have fallen back to the level of The Clippers after a short run at the top of the west the Kings are back to being the joke they use to be.
So dealing in reality it is likely the Raptors will look to stay at 9 and look for a second pick later in the draft. Most years in the draft I would not be that optimistic about that strategy. But this year I like the plan. There is a lot of question marks in the draft. I would say that a guy picked from those later picks might have just as good a shot as some of the late picks in the lottery. The last time the Raptors had 2 first round picks it landed them Charlie V and Joey G. In the case of both they have had mixed result. Charlie clearly is the guy that may turn out to be a very good player when all is said and done. Joey is well frustrating and a guy that has lived on that potential word for a long time.
Bryan Colangelo said he wants to get tougher. Well that is why I mentioned the two players I did in Lawson and Flynn. Both in the NCAA Tournament showed a great deal of toughness. Sam Young has that kind of tough swagger too. Playing out of the Big East makes anyone a little tougher in the case of Flynn and Young. Lawson played the entire tournament with turf toe. How you get that playing on hardwood is another story. But the injury sounds like not a big deal but it is very painful. I played football in my high school years and can remember a few folks having this type of injury it is painful and what makes what Lawson did in the NCAA tournament that much more amazing.
A couple other names that I feel deserve mention are Brandon Jennings and Stephen Curry. Jennings is the kid that bucked the system. He took his skills to europe rather than being forced to the NCAA. He wanted to enter the draft right out of high school but the new rules that David Stern brought in just a few years ago. Jennings at one point was a legit option for the Raptors at 9. But he is climbing up the draft boards and will likely not be there for the Raptors. Curry is the pick of some including Draft Express for the Raptors at 9. There is some common sense in all of this. Curry did after all start hitting jumpers on the floor at the ACC. Not the conference but the Raptors home arena. His father Dell played for several years with the Raptors. It makes sense that Stephen would not have any issues with coming to Toronto. He is undersized and a lights out shooter. Many question if he can do that on the next level. I think he can but I am not sold he makes a solid fit for the Raptors. How can he guard his position on the next level would be my major concern. I watched him go head to head with Pat Mills in the NIT and he did light up the scoreboard but so did Mills who he was guarding most of the time. Mills is a smaller point guard that is lightning quick. But if Curry can't stop him how does he stop bigger and stronger folks on the next level. The answer to be says that he does not. He has a roll in the NBA but on a team looking to improve on the defensive end it does not seem like a good selection.
Put hey we have lots of time to talk about it all. The draft is still over a month away and we have yet to even find out where the Raptors will be selecting. To find that out come join me as I host a live Blog on NBA Lotto night that is set to start @ 7pm on May 19th.