Post-NBA Draft Lottery Thoughts, or, "Maybe Picking Fifth Isn't Such a Bad Thing?"

The HQ takes a look at some of the fall-out from obtaining the fifth overall pick in the upcoming draft...

Steve Smith, LaPhonso Ellis, Isiah Rider, Juwan Howard, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Tony Battie, Vince Carter, Jonathan Bender, Mike Miller, Jason Richardson, Nikoloz Tskitishvilli, Dwyane Wade, Devin Harris, Raymond Felton, Shelden Williams, Jeff Green, Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, DeMarcus Cousins.

There you have it.

The complete list of fifth overall picks taken in the NBA Draft since 1991.

Similar to the list I produced last week regarding the third overall pick, there are some pretty solid names on there.

Does that mean the Raptors will necessarily get someone of similar ilk with their pick?

I'd hazard a guess and say yes here, simply because there's a pretty extreme ceiling (Garnett, Wade) and floor (Bender, Tskita) to fall between.

In fact according to a study done by ESPN.com a couple seasons ago, on average, you can expect the fifth pick in the draft to be a Juwan Howard type player, that is to say an above average type who has a positive impact as a starter during his prime, and who carves out a very long career for himself in the league.

Who will that fifth pick be?

Well the next few weeks will help us narrow the field as we do our usual draft-period research, as well as take in what promises to be some very interesting workouts.

Already mock drafts have the Raptors taking everyone from Kemba Walker to Jonas Valanciunas but instead of weighing into that debate right now, I thought this morning we'd discuss a few things that entered my head immediately after the lottery had reached its conclusion.

1)  Bryan Colangelo has his work cut out for him.

The first thing that crossed my mind after that Raptors' logo emerged from the fifth place envelope, was that BC was jumping right out of the frying pan and into the fire.  As Howland noted yesterday, Colangelo was given a contract extension of course, one that was announced hours before the actual lottery, and immediately is being thrown under the magnifying glass here.  Had Toronto landed a top two pick, a lot of pressure would have been off the newly re-minted GM as everyone and their dog is declaring this draft a two-horse race so to speak.

Now, BC must prove that picks like Shawn Marion and Amar'e Stoudemire in the past were no flukes, and make a very tricky decision in the midst of one of the murkiest drafts I can remember.  One could even argue that this is his biggest draft test as the selections of Ed Davis, and to a lesser extent, DeMar DeRozan, were no-brainers based on these two players' upsides at the time.

2)  Fifth might not be such a bad spot to pick from.

Sure, getting a top two pick likely would have added a "safer" piece to this franchise but "the best piece?"  I think after Kyrie Irving, that's debatable.

Remember, everyone was sure Michael Beasley was going to dominate in the NBA (myself included) and off-court issues aside, he's struggled to find a niche as a 3-4 tweener.  Derrick Williams perhaps has a better head on his shoulders, but a better prospect than Beaz?  If you went back in time and compared the two, I'm not so sure, especially because Beasley was such a dominant rebounder in college.  Williams was good on the glass, but he doesn't project to be a monster ala Kevin Love, perhaps his future teammate.

My point is, someone like Brandon Knight or even one of the "mysterious foreign players" could very well end up being the next best thing to Irving when all is said and done.

As well, fifth at least allows you to see what shakes up a bit after the first two picks, assuming they go Irving, Williams as expected.  Drafting third would have been the worst place to be in this sense as there's really no room for error.

Now, Colangelo perhaps can pull off another "Ed Davis," as a prospect who he feels should have gone higher, falls a few spots.

And finally, as Vicious D was noting in the comments yesterday, would the acquisition of Irving have falsely propelled the Raps to a near-playoff level?  This is the East remember where a 37 win Pacers club made the dance, so perhaps in the long run, collecting a solid asset now and being a top seed again next year in a much more talented draft is indeed the best play.

3)  Everyone hates this draft.

It cracks me up that there is so much hate on this draft.

The fact is though, no one really knows.

There are always players who end up surprising and due to the lack of information regarding some of the top options, especially the international ones, who knows...when all is said and done it's quite possible that in three years we look back and say, "wow, no one thought these guys would be this good!"

Even if this ends up being the worst draft in NBA history, some teams are going to come away happy beyond those who end up with Irving and Wiliams.  If the NBA draft has taught us anything, it's that there's value to be had from picks 1 to 60 really, so for Toronto, they simply have to do their homework and choose the player they feel to be the best available option.

If I'm the Raptors, I'd actually try and play on the fact that everyone's so down on this draft.  If Toronto isn't happy with their options at 5, maybe trading down a bit to grab two players is a better option, or using that pick to facilitate the departure of some unwanted current personnel?  I for one would be thrilled if the Raps could come out of this draft with two solid needs addressed via the draft, say perimeter defence and interior toughness via guys like Kawhi Leonard and Chris Singleton.

And maybe the option of trading up is there too?

After all, the Cavs have two picks above Toronto and the man making the second overall pick happens to be David Kahn...

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