Three possible scenarios for the Raptors at tonight’s draft lotto
After 16 NBA seasons and 11 losing campaigns, we’re pretty sure the Toronto Raptors are familiar with the draft lottery. Tonight will mark the 12th time the team is set to appear in the draw (which features the 14 teams that didn’t make the playoffs during the previous season), where the future of the franchise will be determined neither by the players nor the team brass, but by this gaudy apparatus. As the third-worst team in the league last season—sadly, the squad even failed to win the race to the bottom—the Raps have a 15.6 per cent chance of landing the coveted number-one draft pick (disclaimer: the lottery almost never unfolds as the numbers suggest). With that in mind, we look at three likely lottery scenarios and what they could mean for Bryan Colangelo’s squad, after the jump.
1. They get the top pick
File this under “be careful what you wish for.” This year’s draft class looked to be relatively deep until many of the top prospects opted to return to college, fearing a lockout next season. The result: an unfortunate dearth of star power. Also, don’t forget what happened the last time the Raptors received the top lottery selection.
2. Everything goes as predicted
In this scenario, the Raps land the third-overall selection—but things could still get surprisingly ugly. We’re talking seven-foot, stiff-European ugly. Sure, there are a number of international prospects that have performed well against their American counterparts and have scouts chomping at the bit. But for every Dirk Nowitzki there are 10 Darko Milicics.
3. They fall—far
Okay, it’s unlikely. After several spins on ESPN’s highly addictive—and, admittedly, questionable—Draft Lottery Simulator, the furthest the Raptors fell was to sixth. Still, it’s fairly common for a team to drop well below their projected slot, which would leave the Raps in a position to fill any number of needs (take your pick) based on the best players still available. Of course, it’s probably more likely that they’ll walk away with another Joey Graham.