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Draft Watch: The Raptors are casting a wide net... or are they?

Player interviews and planned workouts are starting to come out! Let’s at what the mock draft sites tell us post-lottery.

Houston v Arizona Photo by C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The Toronto Raptors Draft Watch... is back!

Now that we have the Draft Lottery and the Draft Combine out of the way, it’s officially “draft season” for the NBA, and for the Raptors — even though they (currently) lack a first-round pick.

On the last piece after the trade deadline, we tried to read the tea leaves based on the front office’s trade deadline activity. To recap, the last trade deadline sent Goran Dragic to the San Antonio Spurs for Thaddeus Young, who was also on an expiring contract. The cost of inconvenience for the Spurs was their opportunity to flip one of their second-round picks to a mid-to-late first-round pick. That transaction cost the Raptors from being the 20th pick to the 33rd pick.

The Raptors also don’t have their original second-round pick — we are still paying for the price of the 2019 championship team. The Raptors used the 2022 2nd round pick as a sweetener for the Philadelphia 76ers to take Malachi Richardson and the rights to Emir Preldzic as they prepped for the Marc Gasol trade.

Also, for those people living under a rock, this coming draft is slated for 58 picks due to the shenanigans that happened during the start (or before???) of last summer’s free agency. The Miami Heat forfeited their 2nd round pick because of Kyle Lowry. At the same time, the Milwaukee Bucks lost theirs because of Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Addressing the Raptors’ needs

Given how the season and the playoffs played out, the Raptors have a lot of needs to address. They need shooting, a legit centre, and offensive fire-power help from the bench. The core of Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, and Gary Trent Jr is a legit playoff starter pack, barring injuries. However, how deep they can get in the playoffs depends on the supporting cast that this front office can surround them with.

Whoever the Raptors pick, ideally it would be someone that can immediately be inserted into the rotation. We saw Nick Nurse ride his core players to the ground for two straight seasons now, and that's not healthy, seeing how Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby's bodies broke down this season. Meanwhile, the front office only had Achiuwa and Scottie Barnes to show as new rotation pieces.

What are the Mock Drafts telling us right now?

We looked at several mock sites to get a good feel for how the draft might go down, and it’s shocking to see that the picks are all over the place once you get past the top six picks. It becomes even wilder once we get to the mid-late first-round portion, where you see players go either as a fringe lottery or sometimes go undrafted.

Mock Sites’ Raptors Picks

Site Player Position College Age Height Wingspan
Site Player Position College Age Height Wingspan
Athletic Leonard Miller SF HS 18.5 6' 8.5" 7' 2"
Basketball News Josh Minott PF Memphis 20.4 6' 8.75"** 6' 11.75"
Bleacher Report Jaden Hardy* SG G League Ignite 19.9 6' 4" 6' 8"
Box and One Jabari Walker PF Colorado 19.8 6' 6.75" 6' 10.75''
ESPN Terquavion Smith SG NC State 19.4 6' 2.25" 6' 6.5"
NBA Draft Room Ryan Rollins SG Toledo 19.9 6' 2" 6' 9.75"
NBA Draft.Net Bryce McGowens SG Nebraska 19.5 6' 5.25" 6' 8.75"
Net Scouts Peyton Watson SF UCLA 19.7 6' 6.75" 7' 0.5''
No Ceilings Ismael Kamagate* C Paris 21.3 6' 11" 7' 3"
Rookie Wire Jake LaRavia SF Wake Forest 20.6 6' 6.75" 6' 9.5"
Sports Illustrated Josh Minott PF Memphis 20.4 6' 8.75"** 6' 11.75"
Tankathon Ismael Kamagate* C Paris 21.3 6' 11" 7' 3"
Legends: * - public measurements (not combine) / ** - Not on combine page but posted by Jonathan Givony

I like The Athletic’s pick for the Raptors, which is Canadian Leonard Miller. He’s a bit of a project, but he fits the vision of this front office. Basketball News and Sports Illustrated have Josh Minott going to the Raptors, which is not a bad pick, especially after the usual names come off before their turn. One of those players that I am really high on is Bryce McGowens, whom NBADraft.net pegged for the Raptors, but I doubt he ends up in the second round. Tequavion Smith, Jake LaRavia, and Ryan Rollins can be instant contributors. Still, they don’t necessarily fit the “vision” and are a reach as a 33rd pick. Box and One’s Jabari Walker and NetScouts’ Peyton Watson are both intriguing prospects. Bleacher Report’s Jaden Hardy pick for the Raptors would be awesome, but I doubt he drops this far. Meanwhile, Tankathon played it safe, selecting by need by going with Ismael Kamagate. The latter is probably the best available centre where the Raptors pick.

Initially, I planned to include just the 5 picks before and after the 33rd pick. However, there’s a big blur between the range of 23-30th picks. I went as far down as the 45th consensus pick. Even with that, intriguing talents are still mocked lower, like Julian Champagnie and Jaylin Williams.

Consensus Draft Range

Player Age Position Ht w/o Shoes Wingspan Rank High Low
Player Age Position Ht w/o Shoes Wingspan Rank High Low
Kendall Brown 19y 0m 13d Wing 6' 6.25" 6' 11" 23 18 31
Walker Kessler 20y 9m 28d C 7' 0.25" 7' 4.25" 24 18 34
Kennedy Chandler 19y 8m 8d PG 5' 11.5" 6' 5.25" 25 19 40
EJ Liddell 21y 5m 6d PF 6' 5.5" 6' 11.75" 26 18 UD
Patrick Baldwin Jr 19y 6m 6d Wing 6' 9.25" 7' 1.75" 27 17 57
Bryce McGowens 19y 6m 16d Guard 6' 5.25" 6' 8.75" 28 21 33
Wendell Moore Jr 20y 8m 6d Guard 6' 4.25" 7' 0.5" 29 24 43
Christian Koloko 21y 11m 4d C 6' 10.75" 7' 5.25" 30 20 UD
Jalen Williams 21y 1m 10d Guard 6' 4.5" 7' 2.25" 31 18 54
Jake LaRavia 20y 6m 21d Wing 6' 6.75" 6' 9.5" 32 23 54
Max Christie 19y 3m 14d Guard 6' 4.25" 6' 8.75" 33 16 45
Christian Braun 21y 1m 7d Guard 6' 5.5" 6' 6.5" 34 24 UD
Trevor Keels 18y 8m 28d Guard 6' 3.25" 6' 7.25" 35 27 UD
Jean Montero 18y 10m 21d PG 6' 1" 6' 5.25" 36 18 49
Ismael Kamagate* 21y 4m 7d C 6' 11" 7' 3" 37 26 58
Leonard Miller 18y 5m 28d Wing 6' 8.5" 7' 2" 38 17 UD
Terquavion Smith 19y 4m 23d Guard 6' 2.25" 6' 6.5" 39 24 UD
JD Davison 19y 7m 21d PG 6' 0.5" 6' 6.5" 40 14 UD
Caleb Houstan* 19y 4m 15d Wing 6' 8" 41 28 UD
Peyton Watson 19y 8m 13d Wing 6' 6.75" 7' 0.5" 42 26 UD
Ryan Rollins 19y 10m 21d Guard 6' 2" 6' 9.75" 43 27 UD
Gabriele Procida 19y 11m 23d Wing 6' 5.75" 6' 8" 44 24 UD
Justin Lewis 20y 1m 12d Wing 6' 6.25" 7' 2.5" 45 36 UD
Consensus Mock’s Range from 23rd pick to 45th pick

Interviews

Jared Rhoden, Guard (Seton Hall - Senior)

  • Age: 22
  • Height: 6’ 5” (listed)
  • Wingspan: 6’ 10.5”
  • Mocks: High - SI (49th), Consensus Undrafted

Jalen Wilson, Wing (Kansas - Sophomore)

  • Age: 21
  • Height: 6’ 5.75” (w/o shoes)
  • Wingspan: 6’ 8.25”
  • Mocks: Consensus Undrafted

Leonard Miller, Wing (High School)

  • Age: 18
  • Height: 6’ 8.5” (w/o shoes)
  • Wingspan: 7’ 2”
  • Mocks: High - Bleacher Report (17th), Consensus - 38th

EJ Liddell, PF (Ohio State - Junior)

  • Age: 21
  • Height: 6’ 5.5” (w/o shoes)
  • Wingspan: 6’ 10.5”
  • Mocks: High - Basketball News (18th), Consensus 26th

Bennedict Mathurin, Guard (Arizona - Sophomore)

  • Age: 19
  • Height: 6’ 4.5” (w/o shoes)
  • Wingspan: 6’ 9”
  • Mocks: High - NBADraft.Net (6th), Consensus - 8th

Dyson Daniels, Guard (G League Elite)

  • Age: 19
  • Height: 6’ 6” (w/o shoes)
  • Wingspan: 6’ 10.5”
  • Mocks: High - Tankathon (8th), Consensus - 12th

Workouts

Not the names that one would expect from the Raptors, especially with the lack of a late 2nd round pick. However, the Raptors are known to “zig” when the consensus expects them to “zag.” These names below are unlikely to hear their names during the draft. Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on them, as they might either be a 2-way contract candidate, Exhibit-10 invite, or a Raptors 905 prospect.

Jamal Bienimy, Guard (UTEP - Junior)

  • Age: 22
  • Height: 6’ 5”
  • Wingspan: N/A
  • Mocks: Consensus - Undrafted

Mouhamadou (Mo) Gueye, PF (Pittsburgh - Senior)

  • Age: 23
  • Height: 6’ 11”
  • Wingspan: 7’ 3”
  • Mocks: Consensus - Undrafted

Izaiah Brockington, Guard (Iowa State - Senior)

  • Age: 22
  • Height: 6’ 4”
  • Wingspan: N/A
  • Mocks: High - NBADraft.Net (58), Consensus Undrafted

Casting a wide net

Are the Raptors casting a wide net? Just look at who they have interviewed and planned to workout so far. More importantly, Mathurin? Daniels? That’s in the mid-lottery range! Do we smell a potential trade coming up? We all know that the Portland Trail Blazers would prefer to flip their 7th pick in exchange for immediate help for Damian Lillard. The Sacramento Kings apparently have a mandate, and is that Bobby Webster watching Shaedon Sharpe’s Pro Day?

Consider this: The San Antonio Spurs have the 9th pick. They have been the preferred trading partner for the Raptors for a while now. They are loaded with guards in Dejounte Murray, Devin Vassell, Josh Primo, and Keldon Johnson. The Spurs front office might want to accelerate their timeline by trading their pick for one of the Raptors’ core pieces not named Scottie Barnes. All pure speculation, of course, and we will have a better picture as we get closer to the draft.