I'd like to caution that I am not Bryan Colangelo, and thus have no idea how
accurate these projections are.
However, they are based on interviews, insider information, rumors and other draft
projections. They're also based on need, and Bryan Colangelo's past selections
in the draft.
Without further ado, these are likely to be the top-14 players on the Raptors'
draft board on draft night 2009.
1. Blake Griffin (1)
This is a given. If they nab the first pick in some blockbuster trade for Bosh, they'll certainly be going with Griffin.
2. James Harden (2-6)
He appears to be the most polished and NBA ready guard in the draft, and he's still got plenty of upside to boot. For a team which doesn't have a single player signed at the wing for next season, Harden would be the best place to start.
3. Ricky Rubio (2-8)
The back-up point guard spot was something that gave the Raptors a lot of trouble last season, and they sorely missed T.J Ford as Roko Ukic and Will Solomon adjusted to the NBA game. If Rubio falls due to contract issues, he'll be hard to pass on.
4. Hasheem Thabeet (2-6)
With Chris Bosh's status up in the air, the Raptors would be getting a true center to play with Andrea Bargnani and may be more comfortable dealing Bosh with the 7'2'' Thabeet on their roster.
5. DeMar DeRozan (4-9)
They've promised him they'll take him at nine if he's there, and did so knowing very well that the four names before him would be well off the board by six. DeRozan has ranked poorly across most team's draft boards because he's being talked about as being a project.
Some insiders are claiming that the Raptors are much higher on his potential and project him as a much better prospect than he's being given credit for.
6. Tyreke Evans (3-7)
To answer the question: If Evans falls to nine, do the Raptors still keep their promise to DeRozan, the answer is more than likely yes.
Part of the reason why DeRozan is being projected so highly is because his background check came up clean. He's a good kid, a good student, and from all reports, extremely coach-able. It would be hard to imagine the Raptors taking a chance on Evans considering the red flags if DeMar is still on the board as well.
7. Jordan Hill (3-11)
It is very difficult to read where most teams' thoughts are regarding Jordan Hill. He's the second best big man in the draft by a landslide, and unfortunately for him, the majority of the teams picking in the top-10 are looking at other needs.
He's done very little if anything to distance himself from the other players ranked five through 15, but if DeRozan and Evans are gone by nine and the Knicks don't snatch him, he'll be a Raptor.
8. Stephen Curry (3-7)
The Raptors would probably be a lot higher on Curry if it wasn't for the fact that they don't really need him. He'd be undersized at the wing and would become the fifth point guard on a team with no wing players.
9. Gerald Henderson (9-17)
This is likely Henderson's hot spot. If he isn't picked at nine, word is he might fall and continue to fall well into the teens. It might be the fear of drafting Duke players after recent disasters, but the Raptors have narrowed their focus down to Henderson and DeRozan at nine, and one of them has to be there.
10. Jrue Holiday (4-16)
Holiday might be undersized at the wing position, but he's a big kid who might still have a little growing left to do at just 18-years old. He's very coach-able, and strong for a point guard. Some are projecting him to fall and others are claiming that he could go as high as the top five.
All in all, Holiday reminds me very much of Wade's situation in 2003, where people were saying anything from 18 to five. Holiday is projecting similarly, and it truly depends on trades and where Curry and Rubio end up.
11. Jonny Flynn (7-16)
They like him as a kid from the interviews following his workout. He doesn't fill a true need for a wing or a potential Bosh-replacement, but they'd take him regardless due to his leadership ability and his fondness for Toronto. As he said, "I'm practically Canadian."
12. James Johnson (9-18)
The Raptors had Johnson and Clark going head-to-head, and reportedly came away impressed with Johnson's toughness and ability to play at the wing.
He's probably carrying a little extra weight, and losing it would actually help him. Some have compared him to Paul Pierce, but this may be one of the worst comparisons since the Jordan Hill-Mikki Moore comparisons. Unlike that one however, this one makes absolutely no sense.
13. Austin Daye (12-24)
If the Raptors buy a pick in the 20s, it'll most likely be because Austin Daye slips. They were very impressed with him early in the workouts and after his terrible performance at the combine, they backed off a bit.
With some saying he may drop as far as the mid-twenties, the Raptors could have moved Kapono with Daye in mind.
14.Brandon Jennings (6-18)
He has the potential to be one of the best players in this draft, but for whatever reason, he's been pegged with the knucklehead label, and teams are cooling off on him. If he slips, the Raptors could buy a second pick to snag him.
However, they don't seem all that interested.