Title: The Raptors are trying hard to navigate the pre-draft process without a pick
Date: June 13, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I provided a look inside the Raptors’ pre-draft process without a draft pick.
This time two years ago, the Toronto Raptors were incredibly busy. They were two weeks out from the 2016 NBA Draft, a potentially franchise-altering event in which they held a pair of first-round picks. They were selecting ninth overall courtesy of Andrea Bargnani and the New York Knicks, and 27th overall.
After a deep run to the Eastern Conference Finals, the pre-draft process was a whirlwind. In all, the Raptors held nine draft workouts with media availability at BioSteel Centre — including two on June 9 and one just two days before the draft. There were also ones without availability, including one in Buffalo to avoid some visa issues with international prospects. In all, they worked out 61 prospects in the span of about three weeks, and they attended some of the usual league- or agency-led events on the pre-draft docket. Ultimately, the thorough search paid dividends — the Raptors selected Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam with those picks, and those selections seem to be working out fairly well through two seasons.
“If you can be a team with two first-round picks, one lottery one late-first, you’re basically touching everything,” says Dan Tolzman, the Raptors’ vice-president of player personnel. “You’ve got all the guys in the teens and 20s that want to prove they can be a lottery pick, so they’re trying to get in to you to show that. You’ve got all the guys with that late-first pick who are late-first, early second who are trying to prove that they’re a first-round pick. So you’ve got this big pool of players. That’s the one where you almost have to weed guys out of who you really want to get in and who you’re serious about.”
Things have been much, much quieter in Toronto this time around, but the Raptors have been no less busy.