It was reported Wednesday night by one of the league’s top insiders, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, that the Portland Trail Blazers “are in pursuit” of OG Anunoby, using their No. 7 pick as trade bait.
Players who might be available at that slot include two Canadians: Ben Mathurin from Montreal who starred at the University of Arizona this past year, and Shaedon Sharpe of London, Ont., one of the most talked about prospects in the draft who has yet to play one minute of college ball.
Raptors fans immediately argued an unproven No. 7 pick would be a putrid return for Anunoby, one of the young, elite two-way players in the league who is only going to get better.
But is there a godfather offer Raptors GM Bobby Webster can’t refuse from a Portland front office desperate to keep Damian Lillard happy?
The Raptors could just stick with the program and draft in the second round at No. 33. Right now, Toronto doesn’t have a first-round pick, trading what turned out to be its No. 20 selection to San Antonio in the Goran Dragić for Thaddeus Young trade.
In a news conference earlier this week, Webster estimated that for every 10 second-rounders selected, maybe three will turn out to be NBA players.
“I think we like, between 20 and 25 guys, (and) usually you’ll have one of those guys there at 33,” Webster told reporters.
Will the Raptors be able to find a gem who wasn’t drafted until the second round like two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokić? A look at the Raptors’ drafting history tells us they haven’t done so well in the second round.
Complete list of Raptors second-round picks
(Doesn’t include draft-day trades like Norman Powell or Matt Bonner)
2021: Dalano Banton (46), David Johnson (47)
2020: Jalen Harris (59)
2019: Dewan Hernandez (59)
2014: DeAndre Daniels (37), Xavier Thames (59)
2012: Quincy Acy (37), Tomislav Zubčić (56)
2006: P.J. Tucker (35), Edin Bavčić (56)
2005: Roko Ukić (41), Uroš Slokar (58)
2004: Albert Miralles (39)
2003: Remon van de Hare (52)
2000: DeeAndre Hulett (46)
1998: Tyson Wheeler (47)
1995: Jimmy King (35)
Aside from Powell and Bonner (who weren’t technically drafted by Toronto), only Tucker went on to have a successful NBA career — with other teams.
So who could the Raptors target at No. 33? We took a look at five mock drafts — although keep in mind, in that range, it’s likely about as accurate as the seventh day of a seven-day weather forecast — and here’s who they came up with (includes link to story on the player).
His shooting and passing and defending will catch the eyes of general managers, the Star’s Doug Smith reports. But it’s his mentality, his confidence and his self-awareness will be what allow him to thrive at the highest level of the sport.
The 6-foot-8 forward spent one season at Michigan after attending Montverde Academy prep school and didn’t take part in the combine leading some to speculate that a team has promised to pick him.
The seven-foot, 221-pound junior is an athletic big man who can run the floor and block shots, according to The Associated Press. He averaged 12.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks while improving as a free-throw shooter from 35 per cent as a freshman to 73.5 per cent this year.
The guard-forward averaged 3.3 points while shooting 32 per cent and averaged 2.9 rebounds playing nearly 13 minutes per game. His 19 blocked shots ranked second on the team and he appeared in 32 games last season.
He averaged 11.5 points while providing size and strength to the Blue Devils’ perimeter, both as a driving scorer and as a ballhandler.
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