2008-09 Record: 33-49 (3rd Atlantic; 13th in the East)
Draft Pick: 9th
Key Free Agents:
Shawn Marion (unrestricted)
Anthony Parker (unrestricted)
How They Got Here:
It was thought that the Raptors had a chance to fight for a playoff spot heading into that season. They had a perennial All-Star in Chris Bosh, and the midseason trade of Jermaine O’Neal was supposed to free things up even more on the offensive end for head coach Jay Triano. It didn’t work. Toronto was in the middle of the NBA in field goal percentage but they lacked to offensive firepower needed to compete on a nightly basis. And with Shawn Marion and Anthony Parker both being unrestricted free agents Bryan Colangelo had his work cut out. The Raptors planed to negotiate a long-term deal with Bosh in the offseason, and if they found that he’s set on testing the market in 2010 they could’ve attempted to trade him (which.. well we got a first rounder -- ours back thankfully, and a barely used trade exemption).
What They Needed:
The feeling of many draft experts was that the 2009 class was especially weak (maybe the weakest since 2001) so it wasn’t going to be one of those "get rich quick" selections. In regards to the position of their draft pick, Toronto needed to look for a versatile perimeter player who could hold his own on both ends of the floor. If they lost both Marion and Parker, that was quite a bit to make up on the defensive end of the floor. If they did deal Bosh they’d better be sure to get a polished big man in return; outside of Blake Griffin you weren't going to find a guy like that in the lottery.
Who They Would Have Liked/On the Radar:
Tyreke Evans (Memphis) and Gerald Henderson (Duke; should he remain in the draft) were a pair of intriguing options on the perimeter. Henderson is the better defender but Evans is the more versatile of the two offensively. Toronto could also see James Harden (Arizona State) slip to them should too many teams higher in the order ignore his body of work and focus on his play in the NCAA Tournament instead.
Notables drafted behind Demar:
Although 2009 was projected to be a "weak" draft year, it managed to produce a variety of very serviceable players, especially point guards. Obviously a Brandon Jennings would look extremely nice as a #2 guard in T-dot, the big need coming off 08/09 was something on the perimeter. The only other options at that time would have been Hendo (Gerald Henderson) and T-Will (Terrance Williams) and I’d say neither have really excelled and is still behind DeMar in overall long term potential.
I think overall, especially in a poor draft year to draft the best talent out there vs drafting for need (which I think should be the case most of the time anyways), but a serviceable guard would have helped this years depth. Didn’t know much about DD going into that year’s draft and had my eggs in Hendo and Lawson’s basket at the 9 range. At least we didn’t land Hasheem!