Unfortunately, they fell to fifth instead. If the Raptors had gotten a top two pick, the choice of whom to pick would have been relatively simple: either Kyrie Irving or Derrick Williams.
Even if they had ended up picking third, they would at least know with almost complete certainty which players would still be available to choose from. With the fifth pick, however, things become a little less transparent.
The following slideshow will break down some of the options that the Raptors management has regarding their fifth overall pick. This includes both who they could possibly draft with the pick and a potential trade scenario involving their pick.
Bryan Colangelo and his staff will most likely use the pick to add a young point guard to their roster.
Everyone knows that Jose Calderon is not part of the long-term plan in Toronto. And with many doubts surrounding Jarryd Bayless and his ability to play the point full-time, the Raptors desperately need to add a quick and athletic point guard that can lead this team.
If the Raptors decide to go this route, they would most likely be choosing between Kemba Walker and Brandon Knight. One of them could be picked in the top four. However, the Cleveland Cavaliers are the only team picking before Toronto who are in need of a point guard. Since the Cavaliers will most likely take Irving, both Walker and Knight should be available to Toronto.
Who is the better of the two is debatable. Walker’s size is an issue, but his leadership abilities and winning pedigree cannot be overlooked.
There are a number of big men in the 2011 NBA Draft projected to go in the top ten. The only problem is the majority of them are coming over from Europe, which makes it even more difficult to predict what kind of impact they might have in the NBA.
Some say Enes Kanter is the most polished big in the draft, but he hasn’t played competitive basketball for a year.
Colangelo may also be hesitant to take one of the European big men because of the overly soft Italian 7-footer that he drafted in 2006.
Many people have criticized Colangelo for drafting and then hanging on to Andrea Bargnani for so long that he will probably be unwilling to risk taking another European big.
Then there is the fact that the Toronto Raptors have plenty of Power Forwards but are lacking a true Center.
Kanter has the skill and strength to finish in the post, but he, like most of the other top-projected bigs, are better suited to play Power Forward.
The Raptors could attempt to trade up in this draft but unless they can acquire a top two pick, I do not think doing so would benefit them all that much.
As Bryan Colangelo said shortly after the Draft Lottery, there is a talent drop-off after the second pick. After that, however, the talent level remains relatively consistent through the next several picks.
Because of this, the Raptors would be better off trading down in order to acquire a current NBA player.
That way they can add a player or multiple players that are already NBA ready and possibly obtain a later pick, which would probably be more of a project. However, the addition of proven talent would alleviate some of the pressure to develop the draft pick immediately.
One possible trade scenario could involve bringing in Jonny Flynn from the Minnesota Timberwolves. There have already been rumours that the Timberwolves are looking to trade their young point guard, and taking the more experienced Flynn over Walker or Knight might be a wise choice.
Regardless of what the Toronto Raptors end up doing this offseason, I think we can all look forward to seeing a very different team take to the court next season.
We can only hope that change will bring more wins as well.