Toronto will open the preliminary round Friday, July 11 against the L.A. Lakers. The Raptors will also face Denver on Saturday, July 12 and Dallas on Monday, July 14. All three games will be played at COX Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada Las Vegas and will be broadcast live on NBA TV. The Raptors will make their seventh appearance at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas (2006, 2008-10, 2012-13) and hold a 15-15 (.500) record overall at the event. Toronto finished NBA Summer League 2013 with a 3-2 record and reached the quarter finals of the inaugural single elimination tournament after receiving a first-round bye. Jonas Valanciunas was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament, as selected by a panel of media members. He averaged 18.8 points, 10.0 rebounds and 29.3 minutes in four games.
Slowly but surely the Toronto Raptors are making their way through an entire field of NBA draft prospects. By my count, the club has brought in 28 of DraftExpress’ top 100 prospects, and considering they won’t get a look at the top 15 or so guys based on where they’re picking, that means the club has seen approximately 33 per cent of the top options from this year’s crop. And next week there are still two more workouts to go. It’s as thorough a process as I’ve seen having covered the club’s draft process for the past nine seasons and exciting considering the number of picks the club currently has for the upcoming draft.
The anti-Euro basketball player crowd in Toronto might have something to worry about after the Raptors brought in the Swiss high flying big man Clint Capela for a pre-draft workout on Thursday. Capela was as advertised. The 6’11 20-year-old with the 7’4.5” wingspan has length to spare and the quickness to play at both ends of the court in the NBA. This is a guy who excels in transition and at finishing alley-oop dunks. If the Raptors want a high potential big man that could bring some excitement to the Air Canada Centre and could possibly become an excellent shot blocker, Capela could be their guy on Draft Night. Capela describes his best assets as, “My athleticism, on the rebound I go up (above) everybody and when I run the floor for the alley-oop pass and on the defense, block shots.” “I think I just have to work on the physical, but everything is going to be okay because people told me the same thing when I came to the French league because the year before I played for the junior (team) and they told me you are not physical(ly ready) to play in France and I played and I proved (I could).”
It is pretty clear that Masai Ujiri wants to keep the current team intact as best as he can. When asked about keeping the nucleus together on the radio show, Sportsnet 590 The Fan, he stated: “We have to use our instincts now to grow our roster and add pieces that are somehow not going to stop other guys from progressing. Players progress with playing time, with experience. We have to get them to keep growing. I think staying together and consistency are very important for our program now.” I personally like this strategy, except it’s not going to be an easy task with the lack of salary cap space.
It’s hard to say what value they have as a combined trade asset. Do the Raptor take back a bad contract as well? You’d have to get a lottery pick to make it worthwhile. I’m guessing you start with Sacramento at 8 or Charlotte at 9, maybe one of them bites. Maybe Denver at 11 would have some interest. Minnesota at 13 and Phoenix at 14 make some sense. Would Boston consider trading Wallace + 6th pick for Amir + Ross + 20th pick + NY 2016 1st rounder pick? Probably not.