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NBA Draft Watch: The Toronto Raptors 2020 Draft Primer

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We’re hours away from the 2020 NBA Draft, and the Raptors have an opportunity to restock their roster with the 29th and 59th picks.

NBA: NBA Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

We are just hours away from the 2020 NBA Draft, and the Toronto Raptors will be on the clock to select 29th and 59th in the first and second rounds. Picking 29th in this year’s draft is not bad, as there are numerous rotation-level players in that range. This also means the quality of late second-roud and undrafted prospects could be better as well — and we all know about the Raptors’ appetite for undrafted talent.

As of this writing, the Raptors have worked out six players (that we know about): Devon Dotson, Theo Maledon, Malachi Flynn, Tyler Bey, Jaden McDaniels, and Nico Mannion. We know how tight-lipped the Raptors are in general, and some prospects have also declined to disclose for whom they’ve worked out, so there could be more players in the mix.

Some of the players the Raptors have interviewed have popped up as well. Of note, it’s interesting to see players like Jalen Smith and Josh Green among them, as they are projected to go way before the Raptors are on the clock. Still, like every team, Toronto has used the interview process to talk to prospects within their range and in the talent pool’s undrafted section.

Let’s start in the second round (and beyond) first.

Toronto’s 59th Pick and Undrafted Options

From the way some Raptors draft personnel talked in the past few weeks, it sounds like the team will restock their roster’s back-end with younger talent. Raptors 905 coach Jama Mahlalela gave a brief scrum recently and described the competition in this year’s undrafted market as: “all out warfare.” This echoes the sentiment of Raptors’ Director of Global Scouting and International Affairs Patrick Engelbrecht earlier this month.

It shouldn’t shock us if the Raptors pick a player of use in the 59th spot or even grab some unsigned players for 2020-21. Some of the names attached to the Raptors in various draft mocks at 59th are all interesting projects. There are high schoolers in Kenyon Martin Jr. (Tankathon) and Josh Hall (Bleacher Report), along with draft-and-stash options in Paul Eboua (Athletic) and Marko Simonovic (Sports Illustrated). Worry not, there’s also some Canadian content in Karim Mane, Nate Darling, and Isiaha Mike, who all received an interview from the Raptors.

Should the Raptors Obtain Another Pick?

If there was ever a year to take a swing at obtaining another pick, this could be it. There are plenty of prospects around the early/mid-second round range that may be of use — and that could be cheaply acquired. But can or should the Raptors do it? Let’s have a look.

Potential Trades

The Raptors can theoretically land an extra pick if they engage in a trade. Unfortunately, the trade would have to happen before the NBA Draft for the Raptors to be on the clock officially to make that selection — technically. Of course, teams have been known to make picks on behalf of other teams before including them in some deal or another.

For the Raptors, it’s doubtful that teams would give up any picks to obtain the likes of Stanley Johnson or even Patrick McCaw, but their contracts are good to fill in the gaps for salary matching purposes. Teams are likely at least semi-interested in Terence Davis, or maybe even Dewan Hernandez, but their trade value is all over the map right now.

The Value of Norman Powell

Toronto’s biggest consideration here is Norman Powell’s trade value. Sometimes players are most valuable for the team they play for than for any other team. (e.g. what would Norm’s role be on some other middling squad?) Powell’s salary makes him somewhat easier to move, but I’m not sure if teams would be willing to give up a first-rounder for him.

Meanwhile, in the back half of the lottery, teams are either rebuilding, loaded at his position, or direct competitors. Attaching the 29th pick to Powell just to move up into the late-lottery might not even be worth it, as the talent in that range isn’t that significantly better than the ones in the late first round. Besides, trading Powell would mean the Raptors taking back comparable salary as well, and we all know how Masai is protecting his 2021 cap space.

Buying A Pick

There are several ways to obtain another pick. One is straight-up cash consideration, where a team sells their pick for money that does not affect the cap space. A plain transaction of this nature does happen — but often only in the mid- to late-second round. Anything before that usually has an additional pick attached with the “cash consideration” going out.

The 2019 NBA Draft saw a flurry of teams trading/selling picks in the second round. Picks in the 40s often required at least one future second-round pick or a later second-round pick to go with some assets. The 30s range is a bit steeper, often requiring multiple second-round picks.

Teams can also trade down and yield multiple picks. Last year, the Detroit Pistons traded the 30th pick for four future second-round picks. Another way to acquire some picks is to be on the receiving end of a salary dump. To provide a Toronto example: Masai Ujiri dumped DeMarre Carroll to the Brooklyn Nets, but it cost Toronto their first and second-round picks in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Another option is to trade down. The Celtics flipped their 20th pick to the Philadelphia 76ers last year in exchange for the Sixers’ 2019 first-round pick and an early second-round pick.

A couple of things to keep in mind: The Raptors have traded three of their next four second-round picks already (in 2021, 2022, and 2024). Also, one of the future drafts will be a double cohort, which could mean that better prospects might be available outside of the lottery, making it hard to surrender a future first-round pick. This is long-range planning at its finest.

Interview Updates

Zeke Nnaji, PF/C, Arizona

Workout(s): Jazz, Heat

Projected Range: 25th-40th

Nnaji was interviewed by the Raptors twice but was not brought in to workout. We covered Nnaji a few months ago, and I was not sure if he’s a good fit for the Raptors then, and that opinion hasn’t changed.

Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington

Workout(s): Unknown

Projected Range: 25th-40th

Stewart is another prospect who declined to disclose his workouts. Could the Raptors be one of the teams in the mix for his services?

Vernon Carey, Jr., C, Duke

Workout(s): Heat

Projected Range: Mid 2nd round

Carey declined to disclose his workouts, but someone else spilled the beans on his workout with the Heat. We looked into Carey as a Raptors prospect a few months ago.

Josh Green, SG, Arizona

Workout(s): Utah, Celtics, Nuggets

Projected Range: 20th-28th

This interview feels like the Raptors are just checking in on him if he falls into their range at number 29. As it turns out, most mocks have him in the 20th-27th range.

Isaiah Joe, SG, Arkansas

Workout(s): Grizzlies

Projected Range: Late 1st/Early 2nd

Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman is reporting that Isaiah Joe might have a promise from the Sixers. The Sixers have the 21st and 34th pick. Speaking of Joe, his height (without shoes) at the combine was surprisingly shorter than he looked (6’3”). Don’t bet on him being available at no. 29.

Karim Mane, SG, Vanier College

Workout(s): Unknown

Projected Range: Late 2nd Round/Undrafted

Mane is a big unknown, as he chose to stay in Canada to obtain his eligibility. He looks like he’s got the size, athleticism, handles, first step, etc., but then he’s playing at a lower level of competition. He’s a potential long-term project, but he could be an option for a two-way contract.

Isiaha Mike, SF, SMU

Workout(s): Unknown

Projected Range: Undrafted

Canadian Mike has the size and decent shooting ability for a wing. It was interesting to see him keep his name in the draft despite not being seen as a guaranteed draft pick.

Xavier Tillman, C, Michigan

Workout(s): Unknown

Projected Range: Early 2nd Round

I still maintain that he’s the best big available at the Raptors’ range. He’s NBA-ready and might be able to fill Marc Gasol’s huge shoes.

Jalen Smith, PF/C, Maryland

Workout(s): Unknown

Projected Range: Mid 1st round

Jalen Smith is rumoured to have worked out with the Miami Heat. Make of that what you will in this case.

Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford

Workout(s): Grizzlies, Nets

Projected Range: Late lottery to late 1st round

Perhaps Terry’s got a promise? He cancelled his workout with the Bucks (24th) and declined some other workout invites. He’s also had multiple interviews with other teams. It’s also worth noting that he’s not in one of the major Combine markets, making him less accessible for workouts.

Desmond Bane, SG, TCU

Workout(s): Mavericks

Projected Range: Mid-late 1st round

Bane is one of the best shooters in this draft, and he’s one of the few that should be ready to contribute by day one. Playoff teams might snag him before the Raptors can get in there. We profiled Bane last July, and looking at the mocks at that time, he has made one of the biggest jumps as of late.

Nate Darling, SG, Delaware

Workout(s): Unknown

Projected Range: Undrafted

Darling is an excellent sniper, moves well off the ball, and has a decent handle. All that being said, he could be — for right now and at best — an interesting two-way project.

Toronto Workouts

Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas

Workouts: Unknown (besides Toronto)

Projected Range: Mid 2nd round

Dotson was one of the players who was in an early workout for the Raptors. We wrote about him here. His Combine measurements looked good as well — it was a bit of a surprise that he grew half an inch based on his year-to-year Combine data. (Dotson was at the previous draft’s combine as well).

Tyler Bey, SF/PF, Colorado

Workout(s): Unknown (besides Toronto)

Projected Range: Early 2nd round

Bey’s length, athleticism, effort, and defensive IQ make him an ideal Raptors project to convert him into a full-time wing. Of course, it’s a good thing that the Raptors have plenty of shooting coaches.

Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL

Workout(s): Nets, Celtics, Spurs

Projected Range: 20th-30th

Maledon is the safest pick among the guards linked with the Raptors. His role as a floor general who makes the right play (almost to a fault) has drawn comparisons to Delon Wright, and to some extent, Jose Calderon.

Malachi Flynn, PG, San Diego State

Workout(s): Heat

Projected Range: Late 1st round

I still maintain that Flynn’s stock would have gone up had there been a 2020 March Madness tournament. And since we featured him a few weeks ago, I’m even more convinced that he’s the next best point guard available if Terry is off the boards by pick no. 29. His mock draft stock is still all over the place, however, though some do have the Raptors taking him in the first round.

Nico Mannion, PG, Kansas

Workout(s): Lakers, Jazz

Projected Range: 25th-40th

Mannion was a late lottery talent when his freshman season started, but his stock has dramatically fallen since.

Jaden McDaniels, SF, Washington

Workout(s): Blazers, Jazz

Projected Range: Late 1st round

McDaniels was another late lottery talent when his freshman season started, but his draft stock took a hit after a bad freshman campaign. His talent, physical tools, and potential are keeping him afloat in the first round. We profiled McDaniels recently, as he was our pick on behalf of the Raptors in SB Nation’s Mock Draft.

Mock Draft Summary

Prospect Bleacher Report Tankathon ND.Net SI ESPN Athletic Ringer Rookie Wire SB Nation Chad Ford Babcock CBS Kyle CBS Gary
Prospect Bleacher Report Tankathon ND.Net SI ESPN Athletic Ringer Rookie Wire SB Nation Chad Ford Babcock CBS Kyle CBS Gary
Cassius Winston 44 37 55 29 36 48 26 49 57 29
Desmond Bane 21 24 21 27 25 20 28 16 21 21 34 21 23
Devon Dotson 42 45 29 44 46 33 19 35 50
Isaiah Joe 34 34 31 34 35 36 47 34 21
Isaiah Stewart 27 28 39 20 23 24 22 18 22 24 22 22
Jaden McDaniels 25 30 17 17 27 23 25 54 19 16 28 28
Jalen Smith 17 20 13 22 14 22 20 28 22 13 20 16 19
Jordan Nwora 29 33 49 35 32 31 71 36 29
Josh Green 22 22 23 23 18 18 21 30 18 27 19 27
Malachi Flynn 24 21 27 28 20 34 29 13 29 31 27 29 25
Mason Jones 49 56 57 52 58 29 54
Nico Mannion 45 41 35 37 34 41 42 51 44
Robert Woodard II 41 32 60 39 31 28 31 27 26 36 26
Theo Maledon 32 25 22 24 29 25 24 49 23 28 33 24 22
Tyler Bey 28 31 28 36 41 40 33 28 37 38
Tyrell Terry 23 23 25 19 30 21 17 12 24 24 25 23
Vernon Carey 51 38 24 30 37 50 41 29 32 30
Xavier Tillman 37 39 40 43 30 30 17 30 33 51 30
Zeke Nnaji 20 29 32 32 28 29 27 34 25 30 22
Compilation of the major mock drafts and where they ranked certain prospects linked with the Raptors (Updated 11/18/20 3PM).