NBA Draft

Can the 2024 Draft Suit the Raptors’ Needs?

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The 2023-24 season was a season to forget for the Toronto Raptors.  

Having finished with a 25-57 record — the fifth-worst season in franchise history — fans quickly looked forward to the 2024 NBA draft lottery. Originally, the team possessed three picks in this year’s draft: their own first-round pick, a second rounder via Detroit and a first-round selection via Indiana (acquired in the Pascal Siakam trade).

The caveat was that the Raptors didn’t fully own their pick. Its ownership depended on where it landed in the lottery.

Live by the Lottery, Die by the Lottery

Lottery odds gave the Raptors a 45.8% chance to land their pick in the top six.

This was effectively a 45.8% chance to keep their pick this year because they had traded their pick to the Spurs in the Jakob Poeltl trade that contained top-six protection. The same top-six protection rule happens next year with the 2025 draft.

The 2024 draft class is weak compared to prior and future classes. This doesn’t mean that this year’s prospects should be avoided altogether, however, as there are numerous players in this draft that could help rebuilding or contending teams.

It just takes the right team, development staff or environment to let a player shine. 

Addressable Needs

Picking early in the draft is no longer an option for the Raptors. They will have to rely on pick Nos. 19 and 31 to add to their young core. Their biggest needs include:

Potential Raptors

At pick No. 19, players like Isaiah Collier, Stephon Castle, Tyler Smith, Jared McCain and Ryan Dunn are all 21 or younger and fit the need for guards and forwards.

From those five, Collier, Smith and McCain made at least 33% of their shots from beyond the arc during their pre-professional careers. The Raptors will have their eyes on all of these players, as their upside could prove key to the success of the rebuild up north.

At pick No. 31, players like Carlton Carrington, Payton Sandfort, KJ Simpson, Bobi Klintman, Johnny Furphy and Pacome Dadiet fit the aforementioned needs. Their youth, upside and positional fits can allow the Raptors to build on the 2024 season.

Trade-Night Surprises

Alternatively, a potential trade-up isn’t out of the question.

Pick Nos. 19 or 31 (or possibly both) could be paired with an enticing player like Poeltl or Brown to trade up in the draft. Teams to watch are the Kings at 13, Thunder at 12, Bulls at 11 and Grizzlies at nine. These players fit the positional needs for most of these teams, and would help with their win-now ambitions.

Class of 2025

Looking to the future, the 2025 draft class looks to be extremely talented.

Headlined by players like Cooper Flagg and Dylan Harper, teams are looking forward to next year with excitement. Conversely, teams like the Grizzlies and Kings are looking to make their way out of the lottery in 2025. The Raptors are expected to be worse to start the season because Siakam and Anunoby aren’t on the team. Because of this, they can rebuild and experiment with their players more comfortably.

Optimism for the Future

That being said, the development of the Raptors’ existing young core and their draft additions is something to look forward to. The Raptors own all of their first-round picks after 2024. Additionally, they also own the Pacers’ 2026 first-round pick acquired from the Siakam trade.

Modelling their rebuild to be similar to the Thunder’s recent rebuild, a Raptors return to the playoffs could be sooner than we think.

About Omar Patel

Hey! I'm Omar Patel, a Raptors fan that also loves the Leafs, Cowboys and Blue Jays. I love Poutine, I play basketball and football, and I coach basketball. WE THE NORTH!

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