If you believe in luck, the Toronto Raptors are exactly where they want to be entering Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery.
The team with the seventh-best lottery odds has moved up in the lottery in each of the last three drafts. In 2020, the Chicago Bulls lept up to No. 7 to select Patrick Williams. A year before, the New Orleans Pelicans got lucky, jumping all the way up to No. 1 to select Zion Williamston. And the year before that, in 2018, the Sacramento Kings moved up to No. 2 to select Marvin Bagley.
That’s what the Raptors are hoping for Tuesday night. If the ping pong balls bounce right, lucky No. 7 will work its magic once more and Toronto will hear its name called either in the top four or, preferably, No. 1.
The lottery will start at 8:30 p.m. ET with Fred VanVleet representing the franchise.
Toronto has a 32% chance of moving up into the top four in the draft and a 7.5% chance of jumping to No. 1 and the right to select Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham, the projected top pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
While a top-four pick would certainly be nice, it’s all about landing a top-seven pick in this year’s class, according to Wesley Brown, an independent basketball scout. The talent in the class drops off a little bit after No. 7, Brown said, so Toronto will hope it can at least hang on to its draft spot and not fall down to eight, nine, 10, or possibly even worse.
The last time the Raptors had a lottery pick they selected Jakob Poeltl with the ninth pick in 2016.
Prior to that, Toronto didn’t move up in the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery and eventually came away with Terrence Ross with the eighth pick. In 2011, the Raptors moved down two spots and selected Jonas Valanciunas with the fifth pick. In 2010, Toronto selected Ed Davis with the 13th pick. In 2009, the Raptors stayed at No. 9 and selected DeMar DeRozan. In 2006, Toronto jumped up from No. 5 to select Andrea Bargnani with the first overall pick.
The lottery will air on ESPN and TSN1 and Sportsnet 360 in Canada.