Colangelo confided that Thursday’s selection process and the beginning of next week’s free-agent period will be viewed independently, but what the Raptors do or don’t do on draft night may well provide some insight into how the off-season remake will take shape.
Two bigs, two wings and two guards are what Colangelo is apparently looking at, a group that is so open that any player who falls into any group is a possibility, assuming he’s available at 13.
Cole Aldrich fits the big category, twice being asked to work out for the Raptors and a name that may or may not be available Thursday night.
The latest gossip had Detroit, which is keen on a big, eyeing Aldrich.
Daniel Orton, Solomon Alabi and Patrick Patterson have also been worked out for Toronto, bigs who should be around when Toronto makes its pick.
Guard-wise, Avery Bradley has visited twice with the Raptors as has Devin Ebanks, a wing who joined Aldrich when Toronto worked out six prospects on Tuesday.
Eric Bledsoe played in Wall’s shadow at Kentucky, but the guard did work out for Toronto.
Stanley Robinson is a wing player the Raptors have auditioned as is Gordon Hayward and Paul George.
It’s anyone’s guess whom the Raptors will take because so much can happen.
“Sometimes you know who you want to take weeks in advance, sometimes it takes more time,” Colangelo said. “Again, I think with the nature of the 13th pick, it’s taken a little bit more time because there’s not as much clarity there.”
The draft dissolves into confusion after about two picks. The Washington Wizards have said they’ll take Kentucky guard John Wall first and the Philadelphia seems to have settled on Ohio State guard Evan Turner.
After that? It could be chaos.
“(There’s) a lot of movement out there right now, a lot of trade discussions,” said Colangelo. “People want to move up in the draft.”
While it’s expected the next three players to be taken will be Syracuse small forward Wesley Johnson, Georgia Tech power forward Derrick Favors and Kentucky big man DeMarcus Cousins, the order is in doubt as New Jersey (No. 3), Minnesota (No. 4) and Sacramento (No. 5) are all over the map.
Golden State, Detroit, the Los Angeles Clippers, Utah, Indiana, New Orleans and Memphis are then scheduled to pick before the Raptors make their call.
Colangelo said he knows eight or nine players who will absolutely be gone before Toronto picks but not the order in which they’re likely to go.
That leaves him with a group of about four — although there are others in consideration — that he might choose from.
“We’ve basically said there’s a couple of bigs on the board, a couple of wings and a couple of guards that we’re interested in,” he said. “We’ve said we’re going to take the best player, a player we feel has the most talent and the most upside and someone who’ll fit this organization long-term.
“There are certain players in this draft that have incredible upside at the big position; whether or not we want to wait several years to have an impact? I think there are several players on the board who might be more of an immediate impact.”
Cole Aldrich, centre, Kansas: The personable junior has been to Toronto twice and is attractive to the club because he is a tough, competitive interior player who would fit in nicely alongside Andrea Bargnani, demanding little in the way of touches but willing to block shots, defend the post and rebound as a long-armed 6-foot-11 post. His behind-the-head jump shot is, as he describes it, as “unnormal,.” but it is accurate to 15 feet.
Avery Bradley, guard, Texas: His freshman season was relatively underwhelming but that doesn’t diminish the fact that he’s got the speed, length and athleticism to contribute at a position that has largely become a track meet on wood. His calling card is his smothering defence and he’s a solid shooter. The question is can he make the transition from under-sized shooting (6-foot-2) guard to a play-making, ball-hawking point guard in the mould of Rajon Rondo. The Raptors have had him in Toronto twice in the lead-up to the draft and he is expected to be available when they pick at No.13.
Patrick Patterson, power-forward, Kentucky: If there is one trait that has proven to be a little bit over-valued in recent years among big men it is – ironically enough – size. Players like Carl Landry, Paul Millsap and Glen Davis, among others, have shown that giving up a couple of inches in height can be overcome with added width, long arms or simply superior basketball skills. At 6-foot-9 in shoes Patterson is a little shorter than ideal for power-forward, but is a willing rebounder, decent shooter and solid all-around player considered a player who could help a team like the Raptors – presumable minus Chris Bosh – immediately.
The Raptors have had serious talks today with the Portland Trail Blazers about a deal that would send the 22nd pick and Rudy Fernandez to Toronto for the 13th pick. The Blazers have been very aggressive about getting up into the lottery, but have been reluctant to part with both Fernandez and the 22nd pick to do it.
NBA free agent Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors will co-host ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning Thursday June 24 from 6-10 a..m. ET.
According to the network Bosh will fill in for Mike Golic who is on vacation.
"I’m looking forward to kicking off the most anticipated free agent summer in NBA history with one of the primary players in our studio,” Greenberg says. “Chris will bring a true inside perspective to a story everyone has, to this point, only been guessing about."
All-Star forward Chris Bosh says the buildup to the July 1 start of free agency is "scary, but it’s exciting."
Appearing as a co-host on ESPN Radio Thursday morning, Bosh did not reveal any hints about his plans for free agency, and indicated that the anticipation for perhaps the most-awaited summer in NBA history is growing quickly.
Bosh says the buildup to free agency has "been a lot of fun."
Your typical draft will be lucky to produce five all-stars, if that. This year’s draft, which goes tonight at Madison Square Garden, will be fortunate to reach even five.
There is plenty of talent, just not much in the way of franchise-making talent.
"It seems to be a very deep draft… there are a lot of players who might be in the conversation at [the 15th or 16th picks], and then if you’re having a conversation around 40, you’re hearing a lot of the same names," Jim Kelly, the Toronto Raptors’ senior director of scouting, said at the beginning of the month. "Because of that, you’d say it’s a very deep draft.
"You’ve got a little star power up at the top with [Evan] Turner and [John] Wall. After that, I think it’s a very deep draft with maybe not a lot of star potential. But I think you have a lot of good players who will be NBA players for a number of years."
Well, I really have no clue who the Raptors are going to end up with. This draft seems to be far to difficult to gauge. I would be surprised if a big name falls in their laps, or if they end up trading the pick. If nothing else, I think the night will be more full of surprises than usual. And in the end, it’s all about entertainment, isn’t it?
- The (geek-infused) Big Board
- Live Draft Night Bloggin’ (Alabi and Davis are Raptors)