Tuesday, May 20th was a date many Raptor fans had circled at the beginning of the year. Like the previous three years, most pundits (and many Raptor fans) saw the NBA lottery as the likely highlight of their season. On December 8th, 2013, the Raptors walked into the Staples Center with a record of 6-12 and without Rudy Gay, who was about to be traded to Sacramento. At that point, the consensus seemed to be that Masai Ujiri was going to give in and start tearing down what Bryan Colangelo had built in hopes of getting a top pick in the May 20th lottery and possibly draft hometown hero, Andrew Wiggins.

Well, we all know what happened after that, and while Raptor fans (and players) are focused on the playoff battle against the Nets, and few of them will even be paying attention to the lottery, the franchise still needs to look ahead beyond the playoffs.

Starting today, I’m going to be looking at the options the Raptors will have not only for the draft, but for the offseason.

Coincidentally, Andrew Wiggins made an appearance at the last Raptor game to cheer on his favourite team, leaving some to wonder whether he might actually end up in a Raptors’ jersey next season.

Obviously, the Raptors will have no chance of drafting him at their present draft position of 20th unless it comes out that Wiggins is dating a Kardashian1, so what they’ll have to do is trade for the pick. The question is, is it possible? 

1. For those unfamiliar with it, I am referring to the Kardashian Curse, which seems to kill the careers of professional athletes or turn Kanye West into himself, which might be a worse fate. If Wiggins is really serious about wanting to be drafted by the Raptors, he should find the first available Kardashian and start posting Instagrams of them canoodling (or canoeing) and watch his draft stock plummet.

First there are a few things I feel the need to say about Wiggins and then we’ll look at whether he’d even be a good fit for the Raptors.

In Wiggins’ first and only season at Kansas, he lead the team in scoring, free throws and steals, broke the school record for points in a season by a freshman and points in a single game by a freshman, and he was on numerous post-season award teams. Despite this, Wiggins disappointed many because he didn’t have the freshman season many expected of him.

One player that often comes up in conversation criticizing Wiggins is Kevin Durant. Durant had one of the best freshman seasons in college basketball history, averaging 25.8 points per game while shooting over 40% from three and grabbing 11.1 rebounds per game. That still didn’t make him the top pick in the 2007 draft, but it seems to have become the benchmark from which to judge a player2.

2. Of course, where does Michael Beasley’s similarly dominant freshman season fit into this argument? Beasley had, by far, the best freshman season of anyone drafted in 2008, but it was Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love that went on to become stars.

One of the big problems with the one-and-done era is that it puts a lot of pressure on players to make a big impact immediately in college. It allows little time for the development or growth of a player. It certainly can’t be argued that Wiggins was close to the player Durant was as a freshman, but maybe that doesn’t matter.

First let’s look at a few players who would be considered among the top ten in the league today:

Paul George

In his freshman season, Paul George averaged a rather pedestrian 14.3 points per game and 6.2 rebounds.

Chris Paul averaged 14.8 points and 5.9 assists while only appearing on the ACC’s third team All American.

Blake Griffin averaged a good, but not great 14.7 points and 9.1 rebounds and was expected to be a lottery pick after his freshman season, but returned for his sophomore season in hopes of going higher.

Even Tim Duncan, one of the best, if not THE best, player of his generation, averaged just 9.8 points and 9.6 rebounds in his freshman season.

Going back even farther, the great Michael Jordan averaged just 13.5 points and 4.4 rebounds a game in his freshman season at North Carolina.

jordan-north-carolina

The expectations for players nowadays is absolutely ridiculous. If they don’t dominate immediately, they’re written off. It’s just one reason why I’d like to see the NBA raise the age limit.

While Wiggins didn’t have a dominant freshman season, it was good enough to end the season on the All Freshman team and show enough promise to land on the top of the mock draft boards with just a couple of months to go before the draft. After averaging just 13.4 points per game in his first eighteen games, and then averaged 19 points per game over the final seventeen games (or 20 if you disregard his last game). He improved his defense, became more assertive, he improved his handle, his ability to move without the ball and read defenses.

Admittedly, Wiggins played horribly in his only NCAA Tournament game, but one game doesn’t say much about any player. Especially one so young.

Pundits and fans love to compare players even though those comparisons almost never turn out to be true, for good or bad. Andrea Bargnani was not the next Dirk Nowitzki any more than Kevin Durant was the next Tracy McGrady3.

3. Durant was also compared to Dirk Nowitzki, presumably because both are very tall and could shoot from outside AND it marks one of the very few times a player was compared to someone of a different race.

Comparing players does give a bit of a snapshot of a player’s skills and abilities, though, and that’s about as far as it should go. Tyler Ennis reminds me a little of Mark Jackson, not because I think Ennis is the next Mark Jackson, but because they share some strengths, like the ability to run and offense, decision-making, leadership skills, ball handling ability, as well as weaknesses, like shooting and scoring and lack of elite athleticism.

I bring this up because one comparison for Wiggins I’ve heard is DeMar DeRozan, including by Grantland/ESPN’s own Jalen Rose. I don’t understand this in the least. Yes, both have unearthly athleticism and both were rather raw players in their only college season, but the comparison ends there. One of DeRozan’s biggest weakness is his defense, which is possibly Wiggins’ biggest strength right now.

Wiggins was widely considered to be the best defender on a very good Kansas team that featured Joel Embiid, one of the best shot blockers in the nation. And the one thing scouts agree upon is that even if Wiggins’ doesn’t reach his potential as a scorer, he should always be valuable as a defender.

And while DeRozan had a pretty decent mid-range jumper at USC, his outside shot was horrible. He shot just .167 from the college line. Wiggins hasn’t shown to be a great outside shooter, but his .341 percentage from beyond the arc is fairly decent.

Wiggins also displayed more of a post game than DeRozan ever did at USC. If I HAD to make a comparison, I’d say the player he shares the most attributes with is/was Maryland’s Len Bias4. Unfortunately we never got to see Bias play in the NBA, but they both were 6’8, incredible athletes who were silky smooth and made the game appear easy to them. They had very good mid-range jumpers and both were very good rebounders for their position.

4. Len Bias was one of the biggest ‘what-ifs’ in the history of the NBA. Even forgetting what he would have meant to the Celtics, Bias might have been the rival Michael Jordan never really had in the NBA. If Bias had lived and become the player many thought he would, we might have seen a very different career from Jordan. Maybe he doesn’t retire for nearly two years to try baseball because Bias’ presence would have kept him motivated.

Interestingly, while Bias was considered by many to be a talent on par with Jordan, at the time he was drafted, in his freshman season, he averaged an unimpressive 7.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 22 minutes. It wasn’t until his third season did he have a season that was statistically comparable to Wiggins’ freshman season.

As for whether Wiggins would be a good fit for the Raptors, I would say definitely. He’s a team-first player who plays very good defense and can score in a variety of ways. He can play both the shooting guard and small forward position and he has star potential. The Raptors could definitely use all that. Yes, they won a franchise record 48 games and the Atlantic Division title, but they still lack the franchise player talent that teams generally need if they want to become true title contenders.

Does Wiggins have franchise player potential?

Hard to say, but he has more franchise player potential than any current Raptor, and as I pointed out earlier, his lack of dominance in his freshman season isn’t good enough evidence he doesn’t have it. That’s why most mock drafts have him number one.

The real question isn’t whether he’d be a good fit for the Raptors (yes) or whether the Raptors should try and acquire him (yes), it’s if have they ability to acquire him.

While the actual lottery will probably change the order, right now the five teams most likely drafting in the top five are Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Orlando, Utah and Boston. Considering their rosters and obvious strategy to build through the draft, it’s unlikely any of those teams would consider trading out of the lottery completely for an established player who isn’t already a top player in the league.

Unless there a lower team moves up, the best chance the Raptors have might be a team like the Lakers (currently drafting 6th), whose pick is apparently available.

demar_derozan.jpg.size.xxlarge.promo

Of course, the Raptors have only two real assets on the roster that are valuable enough to trade for a high lottery pick this year. DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas (Kyle Lowry’s unrestricted free agency means he has little sign-and-trade value, especially during a summer where so many teams have lots of cap room). The Raptors might be able to trade Valanciunas to the Lakers in exchange for their 6th pick, but then would have to make another deal to move up (perhaps the 6th and 20th picks). The question is whether or not that’s too much to give up for a player who might not end up becoming a superstar.

And how do you replace a guy like Valanciunas, a legit 7-footer center who can score in the post?

They could also work a three-way trade with Minnesota, where the Timberwolves would get DeRozan, who is more replaceable than Valanciunas (especially if they draft Wiggins), and other assets, the Lakers would get Kevin Love and the Raptors would end up getting the Lakers’ 6th pick.

Again, the Raptors would still have to move up, but DeRozan is obviously more of a known quantity (for good and bad) than Valanciunas is. Again, you have to ask whether it’s worth it.

The immediate future of the Raptors will depend on two things. The fate of Kyle Lowry, which the Raptors won’t know until after the draft, and the success the Raptors have in the playoffs.

Right now the Raptors are sitting at 1-1 against Nets with the series moving to Brooklyn, where they have a better home record than the Raptors do. If the Raptors don’t win another game, or just one more game, it might be an indication that changes might be needed and trading for someone like Wiggins might be considered5.

5. The player that might be the best fit for the Raptors could be Jabari Parker. A more assertive and polished scorer than Wiggins, Parker was simply more of the dominant player that the Raptors need to take the next step. And Parker might be easier to trade for than Wiggins, as well.

On the other hand, if the Raptors take the series and move onto the second round, then it’s hard to foresee (or argue for) any major changes unless a Lowry exit forces their hand, and that wouldn’t be until after the draft.

It may seem premature to be discussing such things, but that’s the job of the GM. To look and plan ahead. And speaking of looking ahead, there might be another Canadian player that the Raptors DO have a better chance of acquiring on draft night. In the next of the series we’ll look at him…

  • Nilanka15

    The only way DeRozan and Wiggins compare is by their loose connections to Canada. Great analysis, Jalen!

    • c_bcm

      Wiggins loose connection to Canada? WTF are you talking about…? He is Canadian.

      • Nilanka15

        Well duh.

        Fine, poorly constructed sentence. Let’s go with “connections” instead.

        Better?

        • c_bcm

          Gold star amigo.

    • sleepz

      I like Jalen cuz he “gives the people what they want” but the Derozan comparison is ludicrous.

      AW is not a similar same player and has a much much higher ceiling than DeRozan. As mentioned Wiggins is already a vastly better defender than Demar.

  • thegloveinrapsuniform

    Nice read.

    Do you think Demar/Ross would get them higher up in the draft? or possibly Demar/Ross/Amir?

    If the Raptors are able to get into the draft, get Wiggins, or even at least a top 5 player, i think Lowry re-signing is as good as done. Even with the current roster i beileve he will still re-sign, but a Lowry/Wiggins/Valanciunas big three?? Oh momma.

    • CJT

      So your theory is that by trading away Lowry’s best friends will entice him to stay long term?
      Seems like a bad assumption.

      • Garbo

        That’s what we said before Rudy was traded away..

        • CJT

          We did, and we have yet to see if he will stay because of that. I would also argue that Lowry is a star. he is without question one of the most impactful PG’s this season and there is no reason to think that he can’t continue that dynamic.

      • sleepz

        No disrespect to Lowry, but if Masai and TL are serious about contending for championships they will have realized that your best talent had better be more than Lowry and Derozan.

        Catering to Lowry and all his demands would be foolish. Yes, you’d like to have him back and at a reasonable price, but he’s not a star and making too many accommodations for a player who while good, might not take you to the next level is not the ideal way to run the franchise.

        • raptorstand

          I smell a tanking bitch.

          • sleepz

            I smell a ‘no-nothing’ homer fan.
            Get at me when your basketball IQ reaches Derozans level…..it shouldn’t take too long.

            • ItsAboutFun

              And you think your constant cliche riddled babble makes you a high basketball IQ genius? LOL

              • sleepz

                And you think you’re never taking a stance or opinion approach, other than trying your best to deconstruct others real opinions makes you even worth listening to?lol
                Please, you started watching ball a year or two ago bro. I’d like to be humble about this, but I am confident I am way more savvy and educated about the game than you will ever be.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  lol, I’d bet I was playing and watching, likely even coaching, the game before you were out of diapers kid.

                • sleepz

                  You’re talking shit and you know it. You fully acknowledged that you are a new student to the game and you can’t take it back now. The truth is known.
                  Because you are coaching in some wheel chair league you have ball knowledge now? lol
                  Fake bravado. It suits you well. Anytime you want to get on a court, debate some of the greats (I know, I know, you can only go back as far as 2010), or actually talk ball as opposed to your usual leeching on comments, trying to find your crevices to contradict what someone is saying with no real insight on the game, I’m here.

                • FLUXLAND

                  LOL! Actually he never coached anything IIRC… his daughter does, which makes him Red, obviously.

                • sleepz

                  Lol. If only Red had as much depth and knowledge as Fun, he might have won a few more rings.

      • thegloveinrapsuniform

        i think lowry’s old enough to realize that playing in the NBA is not about playing with your besties and bffs. at this stage he knows what he wants, and thats to compete for a championship, than hang out in bars with his friends or go to soirees and do pillow fights.

        i think he’d welcome wiggins with open arms even if it meant trading DD, Ross or Amir.

        i bet you he hates James with a passion, but if he gets the chance to play with him, he wont even think for a second on signing on the dotted line.

        • CJT

          I don’t believe it is that easy. I agree with you on some points, but team chemistry has a lot to do with your success. Look at Brooklyn, the Knicks etc. that all have far more talent than the Raptors do with a similar or worse result to date. I also think it is about opportunity and hopefully some loyalty to a team that believed in you enough to give you a real chance and have the courtesy to tell you the truth about where you are, where you are headed and how to change that path in to something productive and quality. That is probably a bit naive on my part, but I would like to think some people think that way.

          • sleepz

            Team chemistry will never out-trump talent in the NBA. Chemistry is good for a team to have but no team has ever won based on chemistry and not have the talent backing it.

            There have been examples of NBA champs with little chemistry or like for one another but still had the talent required to win. You won’t see an average or above average team with high chemistry win the NBA title. That only happens in Varsity ball.

            • j bean

              This Raptors Nets series could be a good test of your first sentence. At the start of the year the Nets were picked by almost everyone to finish ahead of Toronto. They were built for the playoffs and beating the Heat (whom they swept). Their payroll including tax is more than double the Raps.
              If Toronto wins is it because they are more talented or because the team first chemistry transcended their talent level?

            • CJT

              Some would argue that all of our west coast wins this year say the exact opposite of your statement. I agree that I would love to have as much talent as possible on my team, but not liking players you play with is a killer for any team. Indiana is a great example of the opposite effect, great team chemistry and high talent, once the chemistry was challenged by some players the losses started piling up. so to say that it has no bearing on a winning team is inaccurate. There are also teams whose culture and chemistry has brought the best out of players who have been washouts on many other teams. Kyle is one, San Antonio is another that always seems to get the best out of it’s role players.

            • FLUXLAND

              I can’t give this enough up-votes.

              There have been more than a few teams with players who didn’t like each other and won.

              • CJT

                Agreed, I;m sure there have been, most recently Kobe and Shaq. But I don’t think you can just discount the importance of chemistry on a team to help get the most out of it’s pieces.

                • FLUXLAND

                  No doubt. I think what sleepz and I are getting at is that, before anything else, you must have talent. I would take talent and take my chances with chemistry….let the coach sort it out.

                • CJT

                  Fair enough. I just think chemistry plays a big role beyond talent. Would you agree that the Raptors have played above their talent level this season? Or put another way that the whole has been greater than the sum of it’s parts? That is what I am talking about. Like Dallas beating a more talented Miami a few years ago. That is not to say that Dallas didn’t have talent, but it was clear that their chemistry was significantly better than the more talented squad of Miami.

                • FLUXLAND

                  It really depends on your “use” of chemistry. I am not dismissing it’s role, only saying
                  in a matchup of chemistry vs talent, the talent will prevail. So, re: “use” ~ definition – it could be said the talented team has chemistry too – basketball chemistry. What’s more important to you – reading about chumminess and holding hands or basketball chemistry?

                  As far as the Raps, I would very much agree with both of those observations.And it is endearing
                  from the whole underdog vs the odds (naysayers?) thing, but that’s just putting lipstick on a pig, no? You have a nice Hoosier thing going on here, (castaways getting together to win as much as they can in a weak conference) but that doesn’t change anything about the talent level… one that is likely going to be different next year, so how can anyone take this year and assume this anomaly of a year, like 2007, will happen again… is beyond me.

                  By few years ago, I assume you mean 2011…their ball chemistry was a little better for the Mavs, the Heat had just got together and made the Finals. So, I don’t think the situations are really comparable at all.

                • raptorstand

                  So after all this basketball you are still going to run down this team and say we don’t have elite talent ? Have you seen the numbers JV has put up in his first play off games. This is just the beginning of some really good ball that is going to be played in Toronto, there is the talent here. Demar goes off for 30 aka Kobe and he cant do shit . Your continuous running down of the talent and the team is fucking nauseating to the extreme. Do your bull shit posting after the play offs are done. This is not the fucking time.

                • sleepz

                  Elite? Because JV’s killing one of the worst rebounding teams in the league?
                  Hyperbole at it’s finest.

                  Just because DD idolizes and does his best Kobe impression when he can, doesn’t make him Mr. Bryant. The comparison between the 2 is insanely ridiculous.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  Any more insanely ridiculous than a “fan” of the team that’s making noise in the playoffs, for the 1st time in 6 yrs, salivating over any opportunity to dump on the team’s guy that the low IQ (can’t be as smart as you, right genius?) Brooklyn Nets focus on disrupting, yet he comes up clutch in the last game for a win? While calling those that disagree with you “homers”, lol. I’d consider that a compliment, but then i look at the NBA, and being a fan of a team, as being a source of fun, not an opportunity to display my superior IQ as an armchair internet critic of the young, hard working man on my team.

                • FLUXLAND

                  p00ka!!! Remember when you were telling us JJ is a playoff scrub? LOL!

                • FLUXLAND

                  I didn’t say anything about the Raptors in either comment, but carry on with your mindless rant..

  • Stephen

    To borrow someone else’s idea: let’s chip in and buy a countdown billboard in Milwaukee / Philly / wherever counting down the four years until Wiggins can bolt for home and all those sweet, sweet Primo endorsement dollars.

    • DanH

      You seem to be unaware that Wiggins will not have the option to bolt after 4 years. If he’s any good, you’re looking at 7 to 9 years, depending on how smart his drafting team is.

      • Stephen

        Depends on how much power his agent has. It’s not unprecedented for a team to be warned away from matching an RFA offer by an agent.

        Not with a player of Wiggins’ presumed stature, admittedly, but it’s possible, especially if he winds up somewhere like Salt Lake or on the Bucks.

        • DanH

          If you are banking on him forcing his way out, fair enough. But outside of that possibility, the option just doesn’t exist. Wiggins does NOT seem the sort to pull crap like that either, and if he is, I don’t know that Masai is interested in his services.

          But to be clear – him forcing his way out is what you are hoping for. Contractually speaking, he’s not coming here for close to a decade in free agency.

          • Stephen

            I doubt that Masai would have turned his nose up at, say, Shaq in 1996 while he was forcing his way out of Orlando. He’s a practical guy.

            (And I borderline assume that someone’s going to pull this stunt as an RFA before Wiggins hits that stage. Irving, maybe.)

            • sleepz

              I honestly feel that’s the only way they are going to see him in a Raps uniform anytime soon.

              If he’s drafted by a Milwaukee or Utah, there may be a slight chance that in 4-6 years he might want to come back home at some point. Not a winning strategy mind you, but what can you do? Talent wins in this league and when you have a chance to get a possible elite talent on your roster you take it, whether that’s in the draft or years down the road in free agency.

            • jjdynomite

              You’re welcome Stephen, re: the idea of the countdown clock. And to your point, didn’t Jennings de facto pull this stunt this past season? As an RFA he pretty much made clear that he would not sign long-term in Milwaukee after his rookie 4 was up, so he got traded to the Pistons for a rookie scale player (Knight) and then signed a 3 years, $24 mill extension. And Wiggins might get drafted by Milwaukee…

              • Stephen

                You’re right, but then Jennings is a rule unto himself and probably not representative of, well, anyone else.

            • DanH

              Meh. If I’m a GM with a disgruntled star, I sign them long term and figure it out via trade later. Can’t let an asset like that walk without getting a return. And Masai might have turned up his nose at Shaq (although probably not, you’re right) – he is big on fit and chemistry.

          • Abused Raptors Fan

            Actually, it is possible for Wiggins to come to Toronto before the 2020 season. After a player enters into restricted free agency, he has the option of refusing a contract extensions and accepting the minimum qualifying offer to become an unrestricted free agent the following season. The reason why you never hear about it is that it’s very difficult to turn down that kind of guaranteed $, but it is possible. And, that could actually be the most effective means of forcing your way off of a team as a potential RFA, as this presents the same risks as an upcoming UFA does – i.e. losing a very valuable asset for nothing. So, while it is unlikely that it happens this way, it is still possible. On a related note, we could potentially see this scenario play out this summer with Kyrie Irving, as there have already been rumours from his “camp” that Irving has considered taking such a route out of Cleveland.

            • DanH

              Umm. Yeah. Except that’s not true. If a player is a max-level free agent (the superstar we all expect and hope Wiggins becomes) then the team would be stupid to offer the standard 1-year qualifying offer. The team would instead extend a max level qualifying offer, which is a 5 year deal at maximum money and raises. So the player can either a) accept the 5 year QO or b) sign a 3+ year deal with another team, which his current team can match.

              Contractually there’s no way out for a max level player. The only way out is forcing your way out – ie requesting/demanding a trade.

  • Blogazzz

    not “possibly Demar/Ross/Amir?”, but Demar + Salmons 1 mil buyout + Hansbrough.. Ross and Amir should stay for chemistry reasons..

  • c_bcm

    Great article Tim. I would have a hard time trading Val for Wiggins. I like what we have in JV and with Wiggins being an unknown at this point, it’s just too much of a gamble for me. Wiggins would be nice, but what this team needs is a PF. Amir is great. Love the guy. But dude is going to start breaking down in the next couple of years. 2Pat is fine as a backup, but I am not so sure I see starting potential there. Parker would be a perfect fit for this team moving forward.

    You could convince me to trade DD for a top 3 pick. I think Ross can do everything that Demar currently does, but can also defend and has better handles. Problem is I don’t think DD is worth it for another team.

  • mike, prague

    I really hope Wiggins decides to pull a Kobe!

  • MoPeteRules

    Might as well have written an article about acquiring LeBron James! There’s no chance any team that suffered through months of shame and waning fan support would give away their picks (whose potential will be marketed to regain the fans they lost) for anyone on the Raptors except for JV perhaps, and I can’t imagine the Raptors who invested so heavily in JV would part with him on such a whim especially when he’s in the midst of demonstrating his vast upside.

    • WhiteVegas

      Agree with this. I’d love to see profiles of guys in the range of our pick (20). I’ve seen lots of different mocks and I’m not terribly familiar with anyone projected to go around 20.

      Getting Wiggins just isn’t happening. He’s going to whoever gets the 1st pick and will be their franchise cornerstone.

      • c_bcm

        I am sure they are coming. Be patient.

    • jjdynomite

      Uncle Timmy had all these NBA draft lottery previews cued up, considering he prophesized the Raptors to suck so hard. Hence, we have these pie-in-the-sky articles on acquiring Wiggins. Too bad the only one sucking hard is the author.

      • sleepz

        Actually enjoyed reading an article that was a different topic than the usual I have been seeing here.

        Can only read so much about how Demar is “growing up” when he’s taking the same questionable shots he has taken all year long.

        • raptorstand

          Demar goes off for 30 and is totally clutch in the fourth and you are seriously going to question his shots. The big stage hurt him in the first game but like all great players he showed up the next game . and he will show up the rest of the play offs. This is a team with great talent maturing and learning to up their game in the play offs. I know that you are incabable of understanding what you are watching ,but people that do will fill you in.

          • stretch bigman

            Like all great players? Derozans a great player now?
            C’mon man.

          • stretch bigman

            And I’m far more capable of watching the game, understanding it and making unbiased observations, than you are homey.

            Keep on with the homerism.

      • cdub

        agreed the timing sucks….this is an article for after the playoffs are over were in the middle of an intense series with the most meaningful basketball played in years and we have ol’ Timmy still dreaming about this years overated draft. its deep but there are no lebrons are durants in this draft. and I don’t agree that whether we win or lose to the nets means anything. I can’t really see this team taking a step back at this point if we sign Lowry and likely Vasquez. Casey is all but assured to be back.. I just find it insulting to guys like DeRozan who have busted their ass for years to get where we are right now and Tim wants to write about trading them for draft picks in the middle of the playoffs….

    • ItsAboutFun

      Gotta wonder about the motive behind such a pie-in-the-sky (get effing serious), nebulous, draft article, at a time when the team is between game 2 and 3 of a tied playoff series (1st in 6 yrs?). WTF? I know it’s a playoff series that Mr. “I’m here to be RIGHT” Tim W’s expertise predicted could never happen, but at least acknowledge, and respect, that it is happening, and should be the only central topic at this time.

      “It’s a GM’s job to look ahead”?? Yup, but this isn’t a GM looking ahead. It’s a full of himself blogger whose “knowledge” is about stats and internet articles that he’s read and regurgitates.

  • Guest

    Thank you for the fair-minded, well written article, Tim.

  • 2damkule

    it’s cool to read about wiggins & all, but there’s really no point to this exercise, and the article really should have mentioned him as being the likely first overall pick, that there is no way a team that had put their fans through a traveshamockery of a season with the sole intent of getting that pick would then turn around & trade him for what the raps could offer, and move on to a more logical & plausible focus of attention, which would involve moving into the low lottery (at best). it’s not as though RR is starving for new articles at the moment, and this just feels like filler. as another commenter noted, why not just write an article about what the raps could do to trade for/sign LBJ/KD/Love/CP3/Russ, because there’s as much (actually, probably more) likelihood of that happening than of the raps drafting wiggins in june.

  • morganc

    Solid article. As much as it’s hard to look past this awesome season and playoffs, Tim is right – it is the job of the GM to look ahead. It would pain me so much to remove one of the core guys on this team, but the NBA is a business, and if we could grab one of the top guys in this year’s draft, we’d have to do it. At some point, we’ll need a superstar.

  • TheR3dMenace

    I say it’s even better that we don’t have a legitimate shot at Wiggins in the draft. Let him season his skills elsewhere then sign as a FA for the Raps somewhere down the line. Looking forward to seeing reports on quality guys that might be around at 20.

  • golden

    We should shelve these off-season re-building, re-tooling articles until the off-season. IMO.

  • Will

    Not a bad article but there were quite a few grammatical errors. Anyway, the only way I’d trade up in the draft is if I were trading for a specific player. If we want Wiggins, talk to teams who can potentially draft him and see what they’d want, but only complete the trade after they’ve drafted him. Why trade for a pick before the draft when you don’t even know if the guy you want will be available?

  • RaptorsInThisBitch

    Hope Masai uses his African connections and sign luol deng this offseason. I feel would be the perfect complement to this team and would also be a great role model for guys like Ross.

  • photoman

    We should forget about all this Wiggins talk… not gonna happen.
    IMO Raps should focus on growing & developing the three core pieces we currently have i.e. Lowry + JV + DD. Have a couple of years of sustained playoff appearances gaining valuable experience from 2014-2016 prior to hosting the All-Star game… then go HARD to sign KD summer 2016 to put us over the top into the Elite level.

    • sleepz

      Signing KD? That’s less likely than drafting Wiggins and Embiid this off-season.

      • Rob

        It’s honestly not a stretch considering KD said his favorite team growing up was Toronto, and he’d be moving from one passionate can base to another. If the pieces are there, I can’t see why he wouldn’t even consider it.

      • photoman

        Actually it’s not. IF Tim Leiweke can get LeBron to help recruit Jermain Defoe to TFC, I believe they have a decent chance at KD in 2016.

  • Stef 511

    Ya .. not getting the point of this .. other than making me wistful about what might’ve been? Unless .. that is the point.

  • Niagara_dude

    Disgraced ex-ref Donaghy says NBA pressuring officials to side with Nets

  • Schuyler Leenhouts

    It makes far more sense to stick with what we have going, resign Kyle and continue to grow the team’s culture. Trading for Wiggins will only set us back, we already have a solid core of players.

  • Jiggawattz

    THIS> “If the Raptors don’t win another game, or just one more game, it might be an indication that changes might be needed”

    Seriously? Wow. There were many wack observations – but just this comment alone shows a SERIOUS lack of basketball knowledge.

    • Haim not Feldman

      No, Tim daWg was dropping knowledge. If the Raps bow out in the first round, that basically means they’re in no man’s land. The Raps are one alpha dawg away from being a serious contender if they can keep their core or not give away too much.

      • raptorstand

        How about dawg and you shove your knowledge. The raps are not bowing out of the first round , this year has put a lot of suave on a lot of wounds from previous years. Tim W is a douche and always will be a douche. Leave it to this supposed writer to vomit out insults at Derozan in his first year of play offs. it was so fing nice to not have to read this hack for long periods, go away . just go away.

        • Haim not Feldman

          Wait wut? Just constructively looking at the Raps long term future of what I hope is continued success. I didn’t say the Raps would bow out (See definition of “If”), I’m enjoying these playoffs as much as anyone.

          • Jiggawattz

            The point I was making, was that you don’t base all your future plans around ONE game. (or 2)

            Every team in the league needs changes. Large or small changes – they all make them and need them constantly. But to insinuate that a team needs to be blown up – if a team doesn’t win a game or two is ludicrous.

            It doesn’t matter much though – because the Raptors are going to WIN! Gooooooo Raps!

            • Haim not Feldman

              Right. You don’t blow up a team over one or two games, but if in the unlikely event the Raps lose in the first round, then changes need to be made, which should include trading for a high draft pick or an alpha dawg free agent who will make the Raps legit contenders for the Finals for years to come.

  • mountio

    Im not sure why people dont say this more often … but Wiggins reminds me a lot more of TRoss than he does of DD. In fact, I think TR is one of AW’s best NBA comps. Strong defender, nice stroke, tends to dissappear and why away from shooting from time to time, but can light it up when need be. Wiggins clearly has a higher ceiling, but I think the players are very comparable …

  • Crossed

    My balls cut open and bleeding could have written better.