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Raptors Draft Watch: Mock Draft Updates

The Raptors have plenty of options at the 13th spot, and unless the Front Office zags, we should be looking at a non-Vision 6’9” selection.

2023 NBA Draft Lottery Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

The RaptorsHQ’s Draft Watch is back, and we’re here to foolishly figure out who the Raptors’ front office will select 13th overall in the next few weeks. This task is a tall order, as President Masai Ujiri and GM Bobby Webster’s tandem is putting everyone on a wild goose chase as to who’s really in the running to replace Nick Nurse as the new Raptors head coach.

Toronto may have missed out on Victor Wembanyama, but there are plenty of potential options at the 13th spot. The way the season ended, perhaps the front office made the mistake of doubling down on salvaging the season and tanked hard for Victor, or at the very least, improved their drafting position. Regardless, there’s a good chance that one of Gradey Dick, Cason Wallace, Jordan Hawkins, Keyonte George, Bilal Coulibaly, Anthony Black, and Kobe Bufkin will still be on the board when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, not Adrian Wojnarowski, announce our pick.

Value at 13th

The likelihood of landing at stud at the 13th pick is still good, assuming the Raptors’ front office does their homework properly. While the chance of landing a star is unlikely, historically, the late lottery is still rich with good rotation pieces available.

13th Pick - Last 5 Years

Draft Year 13th Pick Notable Available 1st Round Prospects
Draft Year 13th Pick Notable Available 1st Round Prospects
2022 Jalen Duren AJ Griffin, Christian Braun, David Roddy
2021 Chris Duarte Trey Murphy III, Moses Moody, Alperen Sengun
2020 Kira Lewis Jr. Tyrese Maxey, Desmond Bane, Immanuel Quickley
2019 Tyler Herro Jordan Poole, Keldon Johnson, Nickeil Alexander-Walker
2018 Jerome Robinson Michael Porter Jr., Anfernee Simons, Kevin Huerter

Going back over the last five years, the GMs that picked 13th haven’t done a great job overall, with only Tyler Herro standing out. However, as I mentioned above, there were always prospects that got overlooked and outplayed their draft selection. The table below shows the historical 13th pick over the last five years and some good prospects that were selected later in the first round.

Nailing the Pick

Since the Raptors like to throw their first-round pick to the Spurs every few years, they find themselves in a tight spot, as they mortgaged their 2024 first-round pick to the Spurs in exchange for Jakob Poeltl. Also, part of that deal is their second-round pick in this draft, so a lot is riding on the front office, nailing that 13th pick.

The Raptors can’t afford to pick someone that will need plenty of reps in the G League. Three upcoming two-way contract players will likely spend their time there. They also can’t afford to choose someone that can’t shoot unless they are an excellent replacement-level playmaker, given how Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes, and Jakob Poeltl are either 32% or worse from the perimeter.

Mock Drafts

We looked at ten mock drafts to get a good feel as to which prospects are within the Raptors’ range, and there is no consensus pick. ESPN has the Raptors picking UConn’s sniper Jordan Hawkins, while Tankathon and Rookie Wire like Baylor’s bucket-getter Keyonte George. The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie and the guys at NBA Draft Room’s got Kentucky’s Cason Wallace bringing his defensive acumen to Toronto. The Box and One’s Adam Spinella and the guys at NBADraft.Net’s trying to keep the Raptors’ Vision 6’9” alive by picking Frenchman Bilal Coulibaly. The No Ceilings’ got the Raptors picking Michigan’s dynamic combo guard Kobe Bufkin while Jonathan Wasserman of the Bleacher Report likes Nick Smith Jr for the Raptors. Finally, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor thinks that Jalen Hood-Schifino could be a good hedge whether Fred VanVleet remains a Raptor or not.

Mock Draft Matrix

Prospect ESPN Tankathon No Ceilings Bleacher Report NDN The Athletic NBA Draft Room The Ringer The Box and One Rookie Wire
Prospect ESPN Tankathon No Ceilings Bleacher Report NDN The Athletic NBA Draft Room The Ringer The Box and One Rookie Wire
Jordan Hawkins 13 12 11 18 18 17 11 20 17 11
Keyonte George 15 13 7 14 11 18 15 14 23 13
Kobe Bufkin 16 15 13 17 12 14 17 16 14 14
Cason Wallace 17 11 8 15 17 13 13 10 15 15
Nick Smith Jr. 12 14 36 13 15 15 19 17 21 12
Bilal Coulibaly 21 25 25 11 13 33 9 15 13 22
Jalen Hood-Schifino 9 16 22 16 16 19 16 13 18 21
Matrix comparison of the prospects pegged at 13th by various mock drafts

The common theme is that the Raptors need help in the backcourt and talent that can immediately help offensively. Of the guards pegged for the Raptors, Cason Wallace is probably the least polished offensive player, but he projects to be a decent 3+D guard. With VanVleet’s future in doubt, it makes sense for the Raptors to invest in a guard, especially if there are several of them available where they are picking. The only project on this list is Bilal Coulibaly, a prospect we’ll discuss in detail soon.

It doesn’t look like Gradey Dick will be available at the 13th spot unless teams like Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, and OKC Thunder reach for the likes of Coulibaly, Dereck Lively II, or GG Jackson, on top of some of the prospects mentioned above. Hood-Schifino is intriguing, as five of the mocks have him going to Utah via one of their two picks.

We’ll be back in a few days, and we will go over some of the potential prospects at the 13th spot.