With no surprise, the Toronto Raptors will have the 13th pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Before we take a look at what the Raptors will do, let’s take a look at the 13th pick in this past decade:
2009: Tyler Hansbrough. I actually like Hansbrough, lots of scouts weren’t too high on him because he can’t jump and he’s very slow. But Larry Bird likes him for being a tough guy, and on a great college program. I think he is a role player like Nick Collison, which isn’t that bad.
2008: Brandon Rush. Never liked him in Kansas. I thought he was overrated by the scouts. Good on defense, bad on offense. I compare him to Morris Peterson, and that’s about his upside. Another year with Larry Bird picking someone from watching the NCAA finals.
2007: Julian Wright. Drafted as a sophomore from college. Still waiting for him to make the next step. Didn’t help that Byron Scott wouldn’t give him much playing time in his first couple of seasons. Has to tools to be a good defender/rebounder on the wing, but not a whole lot of offensive game to speak of.
2006: Thabo Sefolosha. Another excellent defender with no offensive skills. He is actually worse than Rush in that aspect since he can’t hit a jumper. But he is a much better defender though.
2005: Sean May. Remember Oliver Miller? That’s Sean May. May has a better attitude and probably more skills. May has a lot of talent, and he is a very smart basketball player. Unfortunately, he can’t stay out of the buffet line and the injury list.
2004: Sebastian Telfair. If he didn’t play in a highschool in NY, he wouldn’t have been drafted at 13. He is a good ballhandler, with a shoot first mentality. Unfortunately, he can’t shoot and a suspect defensively. He may be in Europe next season.
2003: Marcus Banks. Excellent on defense, horrendous at running the point, shooting is a suspect. Passing is optional, which isn’t good if you are a PG. The only thing keeping him in the league is his ludicrous contract.
2002: Marcus Haislip. Playing in Europe, but never got much time in the NBA. You will see him again the summer league.
2001: Richard Jefferson. In his prime, he is an excellent #3 option on a good team. Great on the fast break, with an iffy jump shot. Not an all-star, even though he is being paid like one.
2000: Courtney Alexander. Has a scorer reputation, but can’t hit shots. Doesn’t do anything else, and now out of the league.
No all star in this bunch and many of them are out of the league or will be out of the league after the current contract ends. The best player is Richard Jefferson, which pretty much says it all. The 13th pick is really a terrible spot in the last 10 years to land a good prospect. When you compare the quality of the players picked in this slot to a later slot, you wouldn’t find a whole lot of difference. In fact, if you take a look at the 17th pick through this decade, you got a much better batch of players. It has produced an all-star in Danny Granger and a near all-star Josh Smith. The 13th pick didn’t produce anyone of this quality.
The Raptors are faced with a few scenarios with this pick:
1) Trade the pick to get a veteran player: When I say veteran player, I mean someone who can help right away, not necessary old. Anyway, I am sure this is what Colangelo will try to do. The 13th pick alone isn’t going to have a lot of value, but if you put it in a package, you may get something pretty good.
2) Trade down to get a later pick. As I said earlier, picking 13th and picking later makes very little difference in terms of getting quality. There will always be players that other GMs are afraid of picking and therefore their stock will drop. So picking later on in the draft shouldn’t hurt. Also, picking later has financial implication to the team, which may come in handy if they decide make more trades.
3) Trade up to get a better pick. Not likely to happen. Usually this happens with teams that has multiple draft picks, and they have enough assets to trade up. The Raptors don’t have that. However if the Raptors do trade up and find a team is willing to do so, it would likely be a top 5 pick, I just don’t see any reason to do so otherwise.
4) Staying put. This is probably the worst option for the Raptors. You are not going to get an impact player in this spot, and it doesn’t help to make the team better nor having Bosh re-sign with the team. And it doesn’t do anything for the Raptors long-term.
I believe Colangelo will do everything in his power to make a trade here. I really don’t see him settling with the 13th pick. He is going to go for broke and hoping teams like Philly and Washington would trade some of their veteran players because of their good fortune in the lottery. Both teams could start their rebuilding phase in earnest. Meanwhile, the Raptors are going to hope by landing a good player will convince Chris Bosh to stay or find a suitable replacement to replace CB4.
Whatever he decides, it will be a turning point for this Raptor franchise.