With three weeks to go before the NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors are in crunch time, trying to get everything in order for July 29. That readiness has traditionally made the Raptors so successful in the past. They’re an organization that’s always ready for whatever mayhem draft night throws their way. Unfortunately, though, moving up all the way up to No. 4 this year has thrown a somewhat unexpected curveball their way.
The NBA’s pre-draft process is largely controlled by agents who dictate almost everything that goes on during the interview and workout process. Some players are flexible with their workouts and happy to do media interviews. Others are less so, restricting their workouts, their medicals, and their interviews to just a handful of teams that fit what they’re looking for in the draft.
For Toronto, who holds the fourth, the 46th, and the 47th pick, it’s created a little bit of difficulty, Raptors assistant general manager Dan Tolzman said Wednesday.
“We’ve kinda moved into this range where there’s a lot of players that think we’re not going to consider them but then at the same time our other picks are too low for them. So we’re in this weird bookend range where we’re getting a lot of players that they don’t think we’re actually a viable option for them,” Tolzman said. “So we’ve been hitting some walls on trying to get in some guys in the mid-range that we actually really, really like.”
It’s not ideal for Toronto who wants to be prepared for draft-night trades, either moving back from No. 4 to collect additional first-rounders or to move up, pairing those second-round picks to move back into the first round.
“You never know what happens on draft night or what we can do to try to go back and get ‘em,” Tolzman said. “It’s something that you work with and a bit of a back and forth dance in terms of trying to convince people why it’s important that they come see us and be around our organization even if it’s just for a day.”
As for the top of the draft, things are still very fluid, Tolzman said. Moving up in the draft lottery has allowed the organization to narrow its focus down to a handful of top players, but nothing has been set in stone yet.
“Even if we’re going down a certain direction on a player, you still want to have someone in the group play devil’s advocate from time to time. Just for no other reason than to think of what-ifs, or worst-case scenarios, or best-case scenarios,” Tolzman said.
The Raptors have asked scouts to take opposing views of certain players, asking them to argue against their personal opinion to facilitate better and more productive conversations.
It’s all these little things that go into making sure Toronto is 100% prepared for whatever happens on draft night just in case someone decides to blow them away with a trade offer the organization can’t refuse.