Imagine, just imagine that missing the playoffs was the best thing to ever happen to this team. Now open your eyes. Feel any better? No? Me neither. But it was worth a try.

Now, assuming that Bryan Colangelo doesn’t trade away another of our first round picks over the next 70 days, on June 24th at 7pm in Madison Square Gardens, David Stern will introduce to the Toronto fans and media our next great hope. However, before we get too excited about what the Raptors can expect to take home with the 12th pick, lets get a few things out in the open.

The Odds of Moving Up:
Because of their overall record (and their losing record to Memphis – which is the tie-breaker), the Raptors finished with the 12th worst record in the league and therefore if there were no lottery, they would pick 12th. However, because of the lottery, each of the 14 teams that finishes outside of the playoffs has a chance at the #1 pick. Here is how it works, here are what your chances are of landing the #1 pick based on where you finish:

1. 25.0% chance of receiving the #1 pick
2. 19.9% chance
3. 15.6% chance
4. 11.9% chance
5. 8.8% chance
6. 6.3% chance
7. 4.3% chance
8. 2.8% chance
9. 1.7% chance
10. 1.1% chance
11. 0.8% chance
12. 0.7% chance
13. 0.6% chance
14. 0.5% chance

Over and above that, a team can only move up or down a maximum number of spaces (usually 3) – outside of the top three (it’s actually a little more complicated than that, but this is the most simple way I could put the formula). So for the Raptors, the ONLY possible picks they could end up with (and the % of it happening) are:

#1 overall .007% chance
#2 overall .008% chance
#3 overall .010% chance
#12 overall .935% chance
#13 overall .039% chance

The Raptors actually could win the lottery. In fact, since they have won the lottery before, their odds actually increase (maybe we can get Tom Liston to do a little bit of stat work for us here on the probability of repeat winners). After all the 76ers, Spurs, Bucks, Bulls, Nets, Clips, and Magic have all won the more than once. And we do know that since 1985 when the NBA went to a lottery system, only 16 teams have won the lottery and what’s even more important is that since 1990 when the lottery was changed to its current structure (where the worst record gets 250 balls in the lottery vs. 1 ball for the 14th worst record) the team with the worst record has only won the lottery 3 times (NJ in 1990, CLE in 2003, and ORL in 2004) and the second worst team has only won the lottery 4 times (ORL in 1992, MIL in 1994, PHI in 1996, and LAC in 2009). And finally there is precedent for good teams winning the lottery. For example, in 1993 ORL went 41-41 but missed the playoffs and won the lottery for the second straight year! And in the last five years, 3 teams with more than 30 wins (MIL in 2005, POR in 2007, and CHI in 2008) all won the lottery against the odds.

So, while the numbers strongly suggest the Raptors will pick at #12, the lottery does provide the opportunity for them to have a chance at top tier prospects like John Wall, Evan Turner, Derrick Favors, or DeMarcus Cousins.

Stanley Robertson – Senior, UConn

Who’s Around at #12?
In the weeks to come we will see hundreds of mock drafts across the internet speculating who will end up where and what can be expected from the Raptors at #12. On this site, you can expect lots of commentary, podcasts, and articles from the crew. In fact, if you go back and look at last years articles, you will see that Raptors Republic called the DeRozan pick more than a month before his name was even being talked about in the Toronto media. We also suggested that the Raps consider buying (with the 3 million dollars from the O’Neal trade that was promised by Colangelo to go towards buying a pick) one of Minnesota’s later first round picks to draft a PG like Ty Lawson. But, I digress.

Today I just want to point out a few names for you to consider as possible Raptors prospects with a more detailed breakdown of each player, their strengths and weaknesses to be discussed in the coming weeks. You see, before we can really talk about who the Raptors are going to draft we need a more clear understanding of the direction this team is going in. For example, are Calderon, Turkoglu, or Bargnani on the move and will the Raptors use their pick to draft a starter or a backup to one of these three? Will the Raps be looking to replace Bosh at the PF with their pick – this may be the deepest draft at the 4 spot. Ever. Do they believe in DeRozan and Weems or will they be looking to get their off-guard from the draft? Or will they draft international, let them develop overseas and save the cap space. After all, this is a very good international draft and the Raptors likely themselves some Euros! So, until the first shoe drops and we hear more from Colangelo or MLSE about who the GM, coach, and franchise guy will be next year, we don’t want to speculate on who the best pick will be. Having said that, at the #12 pick the following players will most likely be available and may be of interest to the Raptors depending on their philosophy moving forward:

Cole Aldrich 6-11 245 21 Kansas
Daniel Orton 6-10 260 19 Kentucky
Hassan Whiteside 6-11 225 20 Marshall

Greg Monroe 6-11 250 19 Georgetown
Donatas Motiejunas 7-0 220 19 Lithuania
Jan Vesely 6-11 240 19 Czech Republic
Ekpe Udoh 6-10 240 22 Baylor
Larry Sanders 6-10 220 21 VA Commonwealth
Patrick Patterson 6-8 245 21 Kentucky
Mason Plumlee 6-10 230 20 Duke

Gordon Hayward 6-8 200 20 Butler
Luke Babbitt 6-9 220 20 Nevada
Stanley Robinson 6-9 215 21 Connecticut
Quincy Pondexter 6-7 220 22 Washington

Xavier Henry 6-7 220 19 Kansas

Avery Bradley 6-3 180 19 Texas (combo type guard)
Eric Bledsoe 6-1 190 20 Kentucky

Like I said, we’ll break down their games in the upcoming days, most likely via a podcast, but feel free to check out Chad Ford’s thoughts in the meantime.

As always, standing in the key, Im the Doctor, Ive got my feet planted and I’m planning on taking a charge!


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