Narrowing the Raptors' Draft Options at 8

Um...please no.


There's not much we know for sure about the Raptors draft plans but the HQ takes a stab at narrowing down the field at eight.

We're about 36 hours away from the NBA draft and here's what we know for sure.

Nothing.

Well, apart from Anthony Davis being the number one overall pick.

However there are enough bits and pieces floating around Raptorland that we can start to put together a bit of a picture of what the Dinos' draft options might look like tomorrow night.

For starters, it sounds like Colangelo and co. have narrowed their wish list of players. The number three was thrown around, but only before BC went on to say that "The list is not just limited to those three, it's evaluating players beyond those three."

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that his wish list includes Harrison Barnes, Damian Lillard and Dion Waiters, but he knows full well that some, if not all, might not be around at 8.

In fact I think we can safely say Barnes and Lillard will be gone. Every mock draft and "expert" is saying that Barnes will be gone by the fifth pick with Golden State swooping him up at 7 if he does fall due to some trade activity.

And Lillard, I believe he's long gone too. Yesterday Comcast Sportsnet's Dwight Jaynes reported that the Portland Trailblazers were enamored with Lillard after a stellar workout session that left those in attendance speechless.

Yes, it's a bit comedic to think that one workout sealed the deal and not an entire body of NCAA work, but based on this account and various others that I've heard, I firmly believe that he'll be off the board which is a tough pill to swallow. According to the Toronto Sun's Ryan Wolstat, the Raptors had Lillard in again yesterday for another individual session so there' no doubting their interest in the Weber State product, a player who many think will be one of this draft class' standouts.

So this leaves Dion Waiters as the top option at 8.

The problem is, if things go down the way Jonathan Givony of Draftexpress expects them to, Waiters too will be gone by the time Toronto drafts. So suddenly, the Dinos need to consider another tier of prospects, and I believe that's what BC meant by having such a "fluid" three.

From the next tier?

Again, I'd guess based on workouts and feedback that Austin Rivers, Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones III and John Henson would be there.

Yep, a pretty big pool, and I think if Andre Drummond is still around, he gets included too simply based on his upside and therefore use as a trade piece perhaps later on. I'm not a Drummond fan and agree that he's easily one of this draft's biggest potential busts, but if the Raps feel he offers the most value at that spot, especially for future trade purposes, it's hard to argue.

After Drummond, I'm not exactly enamored with most of the remaining players in this hypothetical tier. I think we can eliminate Perry Jones, as he was one of the top prospects who did not receive a "Green Room" invite. The NBA is usually pretty on the point about their invites so let's move on from the Baylor product.

It sounds like the team has soured a bit on Lamb, so unfortunately Austin Rivers seems to be the winning option at this point. When I say winning though, it's not because I think this would be a good pick. In fact of all the players the club could take at 8, right down to late first-round and early second-round options, Rivers might be my least favourite. Tomorrow morning we'll take a last look at who the team should pick based on various methodologies but as a preview, none of them involve choosing Rivers.

Of course all of the above assumes that the draft order stays as is, something that likely won't be the case.

Ideally, Toronto finds a trade partner themselves in order to move up a bit in the draft to grab the player they really want (Sacramento?) or heads down a few picks by trading with a club, feeling that they can still get great value later on, in addition to a solid veteran player. (Houston?)

Trade or no trade though, we'll get a pretty good idea of how Colangelo views this off-season starting with the Raptors' moves tomorrow night.

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