That may not have been such a bad thing.
With no picks in either the first or second round on Thursday, the Raptors were never really players to begin with. Even so, some reporters, such as ESPN's Marc Stein, had speculated that the team could get involved in the action.
Given the number of surprises that popped up, the prospect of the Raptors trading into the draft was completely plausible. Of particular note was the deal that sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets as well as the trade that sent Nerlens Noel to the Philadelphia 76ers for Jrue Holiday.
While several teams took action to secure either their short-term or long-term success, the Raptors’ inaction could ultimately prove to be the right move for them.
Trading Away Their First Rounder for Kyle Lowry
Although the trade that brought Kyle Lowry to the Raptors for their first-round pick happened last summer, it undoubtedly had a large impact on their decision to stay put on Thursday night.
Former GM Bryan Colangelo understood that the NBA was becoming a point guard’s league—if you didn't have an elite one, you weren't getting very far. He also may have taken into consideration the notion that the 2013 draft class was considered to be lacking in star talent. So with those two factors in mind, he traded away the Toronto Raptors’ first-round pick for Lowry.
If given a second chance, Colangelo would probably do it again.
The Raptors’ No. 12 pick (which belonged to Oklahoma City), turned into Pittsburgh center Steven Adams. While he could one day develop into a serviceable NBA big man, he’s coming into the league fairly raw. He has size (7’0”), and should be able to rebound right away, but his post play still needs to be developed.
The ping pong balls could have landed more favorably and the Raptors could have had a different pick, but considering the results, trading away that pick for Lowry was the right decision.
Keeping Andrea Bargnani
It’s becoming more and more likely that the Toronto Raptors are going to have to either amnesty Andrea Bargnani, or trade him for chips and dip.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported that new GM Masai Ujiri's first priority was trading Bargnani by July 1, and here we are, just a few days from that deadline. Whether it’s the size of his contract ($10 million next year), his ambivalence to opinions of him or his sharp decline in production, teams are just not biting on this guy.
If the Boston Celtics can accept the bloated contracts of Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries, surely some team out there is willing to take a chance on Bargnani, who is not only younger than both of those players, but is also slightly cheaper.
Either the Raptors’ asking price is too high or they have plans to amnesty him to clear the cap room because if they couldn't flip Bargnani for even a second-rounder Thursday night, something is amiss.
Standing Pat on Draft Day
As previously mentioned, the Raptors chose not to involve themselves in any draft moves. Ujiri had stated that they could possibly acquire a pick, either in the second round, or according to ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard, perhaps even the No. 2 overall pick.
Obviously, neither of those rumors came to fruition.
After the dust of draft night had settled, two important events happened that directly affected the Raptors—the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers both pressed the reset button.
By shipping out Pierce, Garnett and Terry, the Celtics have officially begun their rebuild around Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk. The Philadelphia 76ers traded away their All-Star point guard in Holiday for Noel, who won’t be available until November at the earliest.
All of that means the Raptors, by keeping their core group of players together and not disrupting their chemistry, have potentially made their playoff berth next year all the more attainable.
Here are the final Eastern Conference standings from the 2012-13 season:
- New York
Unless their rosters undergo significant changes, the Celtics' and 76ers' playoff aspirations definitely took a hit tonight. If the Atlanta Hawks decide to blow up their roster as well, that makes three teams ahead of the Raptors in the standings that could potentially be out of the playoff hunt next year.
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