Raptors embracing NBA draft process uncertainty: ‘Trusting in our gut feeling’

Title: Raptors embracing NBA draft process uncertainty: ‘Trusting in our gut feeling’
Date: October 21, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about how the pre-draft process has changed for the Raptors in the pandemic.

There are at least two ways to look at an area of strength in a novel environment like the pre-draft process amid a pandemic. There is no relative good or bad when all 30 NBA teams face proportional circumstances, there is only letting those circumstances dictate things or taking advantage of them.

The Toronto Raptors could, on one hand, fret that the competitive advantages they’ve held in things like player evaluation and projecting development capacity will be hindered by a system outside their norm. The value they’ve placed on getting to know players as people, and thus how they’ll fit into a rigorous yet successful development incubator, could be undercut as Zoom replaces face-to-face interactions and a day with a prospect is turned into a virtual hour. How they work out prospects — more about seeing how they respond to different settings, successes, failures and fatigue than how well a guy shoots 1-on-0 in a gym — to evaluate make-up and ability to apply coaching in real-time could be compromised. And for a team that’s built a system of next-man-up on the back two-thirds of the roster without big contracts or high draft equity, the loss of information from the combine, the G League mini-camp and Summer League is very real.

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