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Media Watch: June 3

In our continued efforts to provide Raptors fans with maximum team coverage, we here at Raptorshq present Media Watch; our regular survey of the media examining all articles, excerpts and other media information relating to the team.

ESPN.com â€" 2005 NBA DRAFT COVERAGE

In his latest draft update, Chad Ford reports that several teams may be looking to trade draft picks. Interestingly, the Raptors are mentioned several times in this article. Besides having them listed under the “buy!” heading, claiming the Raptors would love to move up to at least the number 5 spot, he also has the Raptors listed as a potential trading partner for several teams looking to “sell” their draft picks. On the “buy” side, it’s obvious that obtaining either Andrew Bogut, Chris Paul or Deron Williams would fill large needs for the Raptors and therefore trading up makes sense. The encouraging part of this is that Ford lists the Raptors as having several tradeable assets such as Mo Pete, Rafer Alston and Eric Williams with which to use in trades. This is the first time in a long while that the Raptors have had anything anyone would consider “assets.” Ford considers some trading possibilities including potential deals with Portland and Charlotte which would involve the Raptors dealing some of the aforementioned players and draft pick combinations. While these speculations are just that at this point, they are points of interest as we here at Raptorshq have frequently brought up the fact that with the need to further develop the likes of Matt Bonner, Pape Sow and Rafael Aruajo, keeping all four draft picks may not be mathematically possible.

DRAFTCITY â€" WORD ON THE STREET

From draftcity we get a great quote concerning Chris Taft’s recent workout troubles from none other than the Raptors own GM, Rob Babcock. After watching Taft workout Babcock was quoted as saying that Taft “would certainly be better served by going back to school.” Unfortunately, with Taft hiring an agent, he has forfeited any college eligibility that remained. More to the point, this quote really echoes home just how far Taft has fallen in the eyes of the NBA collective; from a potential number 1 pick prior to the start of the last NCAA season to a player who appears to have fallen right out of the lottery and may not even be desirable when the Raptors use their second pick at number 16.

SCOUT.COM â€" JULIUS HODGE INTERVIEW

Going from a player whose stock is dropping faster then Lindsay Lohan drops weight to one whose stock is on the rise, we turn to Julius Hodge. Hodge was projected prior to his NCAA run with the Wolf Pack to be an early to mid 2nd Round draft pick due to his shaky jump shot mechanics. But after putting NC State on his back and leading them to an upset of the defending NCAA Champion UConn Huskies during March Madness, his stock started to climb. And now, after working out to rave reviews in front of various NBA GM’s, the 6-7 Harlemite may have put himself firmly into the middle of the draft’s first round. His competitive spirit has never been questioned and now that his jump shot mechanics have improved, this versatile point forward seems to be everyone’ s sleeper pick. While it may be too early to draft Hodge with our second pick in the first round, Hodge definitely felt that he showed the Raptors and scouts in attendance, what an asset he would be. Matched up against Rashad McCants, Francisco Garcia and high-schooler, CJ Miles, Hodge tells scout.com that it was his favourite team workout so far. According to Hodge, his shot was falling all day to the point where a discouraged Rashad McCants hit the sidelines feigning an injury when it was obvious how much Hodge was outplaying him. Hodge states that he fared well against his good friend Garcia as well, taking 2 out of 3 one-on-one contests from him.

Based on these excerpts it will be interesting to see how Babcock views the talent in the middle of the first round. While the Raptors have certain holes that need filling in their lineup, it seems as though the players that don’t fit the holes are the ones who are attracting the most attention.

- Franchise