Regardless of whether they lose to the Indiana Pacers tomorrow or win, the Toronto Raptors will enter the 2021 NBA Draft lottery with the seventh-best odds to get the first overall pick.
On top of that, the Raptors also have a 32 percent chance of landing a top four pick. The last time Toronto chose in the top five, fans got Andrea Bargani. The last time they were in the top ten? Jakob Poeltl.
So, Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster have some work to do if they want to redeem the franchise’s reputation for taking underwhelming lottery picks.
So, to give them a helping hand (because they obviously read my articles), I decided to check out some of the players projected to go in the top ten in this year’s draft and see how they might fit with the Toronto Raptors.
*All Draft projections are based on the 2021 NBA Mock Draft consensus 4.0 done by The Rookie Wire.*
Cade Cunningham, Guard, Oklahoma. (Projected #1 Overall Pick.)
Pretty much a lock at the top spot, the only chance the Raptors are going to be able to get him is if they get the first overall pick. Positional needs get thrown out the window when a player like Cade Cunningham is available. Unfortunately with low odds to pick first, Raptors fans better cross their fingers and sleep with their jammies inside out if you want this guy.
I will add though, I am a strong believer in the notion that the NBA is corrupt, and if you have read any of my recent articles you’ll know that I genuinely believe Adam Silver will reward the Toronto Raptors with the first overall pick after this disaster of a season.
Evan Mobley, Centre, USC. (Projected #2 overall pick.)
“There’s a real argument that Mobley is the most intriguing true big to enter the draft since Karl-Anthony Towns in 2015, or if you’re feeling bold, Joel Embiid in 2014, and he’s built a sneaky, if not popular, case as an alternative option at No. 1.”– Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated
The Toronto Raptors are in desperate need of a reliable big man. Evan Mobley is that reliable big man.
As mentioned before, Toronto has a 32 percent chance of getting into the top four at this year’s draft, which is right around where this seven-foot big man is projected to go. “Rookie Wire” has Mobley going second overall, with others having him go as low as fourth, so he is within the grasp.
Interestingly enough, it has been pointed out that the only NBA team the prospect follows is in fact Toronto. I don’t want to look into that too much but it has neither been confirmed nor denied that Evan Mobley can see into the future. Something to think about.
Cade Cunningham would be sweet, but with shades of a young Chris Bosh, Raptors fans should have their hearts locked on Mobley to fill the empty big man position in the rotation.
Jonathan Kuminga, Forward, G-League Ignite (Projected 5th Overall Pick)
Jonathan Kuminga is a beast.
The six-foot-eight, 220-pound forward averaged nearly 16 points and eight rebounds for the G-Leagues ignite team this year.
He is only 18.
He played against men.
Out of anyone in this year’s draft, Kuminga has the most potential to make a serious impact on the floor right away – had he played in the NCAA, I would be willing to bet the extra exposure would have put him in the conversation to go number one overall.
Keon Johnson, Guard, Tennessee (Projected #7 Overall pick)
Don’t be surprised to see the Raptors shop their lottery pick if they don’t get a pick in the top five.
The Toronto Raptors already have a solid core of guards in Malachi Flynn, Jalen Harris and Fred VanVleet. To draft another guard this year wouldn’t make sense unless Toronto believes that he could make an immediate difference in the game.
That’s why they COULD be willing to trade their pick if it lands outside of the top five – with Jalen Suggs, Jalen Green and Cade Cunningham all projected to go in the first five picks there really won’t be a guard available who can make a difference right away.
With that being said, if Toronto stays at the number seven spot, Keon Johnson should be their pick.
He is smart and can shoot well – but with a bunch of guards just like him on the roster, if the Raps get number seven and pick Johnson, I wouldn’t expect him to do much of anything next year.