The Toronto Raptors’ future will be inexorably changed forever based on the bounces of a few ping-pong balls in the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery. Their unlucky season in Tampa helped them end up with the seventh-best odds to earn the top selection in the draft, which will likely end up being Oklahoma State point guard Cade Cunningham.
The Raptors have plenty of reasons to be optimistic heading into Tuesday night. Since the lottery format was retooled ahead of 2019, both teams that earned the seventh-best odds have moved up. The Bulls brought Patrick Williams to Chicago, while the New Orleans Pelicans landed a superstar in Zion Williamson.
However, the Raptors can’t assume that they will move up, as a few unlucky bounces of the balls could end up hurting the Raptors and handing them a pick that was actually lower than No. 7. What a fitting conclusion to the season from the hell that would be.
If one of these 3 scenarios ends up coming true, Raptors fans might need to brace for what could be an even unluckier offseason than most expected, as Toronto’s grand draft plans could end up being spoiled.
3 less than ideal lottery scenarios for the Toronto Raptors.
3. Sacramento gets a higher pick than Toronto.
If the Raptors are drafting for need instead of the best player available, they will likely target a center, especially considering the uncertain status of Khem Birch. While Toronto’s chances at Evan Mobley aren’t exactly very robust, they will likely compete with Sacramento for the rights to the No. 2 center in this class.
The Kings could use a center, as Marvin Bagley failed to provide a dynamic backcourt led by Tyrese Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox any sort of consistency inside. The best of the non-Mobley centers may end up here, and Sacramento still could end up jumping over Toronto in the draft order.
The Kings could steal a pick from the Raptors.
The Kings on the ninth-best odds at the top pick, but that doesn’t mean that Toronto should rule out the chance of Luke Walton getting a spot ahead of them. The Kings are famously bad drafters, but this could be the year they reverse their trend at the expense of a beleaguered Raptors team.
Players like Kentucky’s Isaiah Jackson and Turkish stud Alperen Sengun could easily become impact starters in the NBA on Day 1, and while they have flaws that could help them fall just a bit, the Raptors sliding down the order thanks to the lottery furniture Sacramento has become would be a gut punch.