The Toronto Raptors are going into one of the most important offseasons in their history. Veteran point guard Kyle Lowry is an unrestricted free agent. They have the seventh-best odds of landing the number one overall pick in the draft. The team is still good enough that they could be a playoff team next year if they get lucky in the lottery and sign the right players. However, since their title in 2019, the team has been trending in the wrong direction. No matter what happens over the next few months, it’s clear that the Raptors have decisions to make.
Toronto Raptors Have Decisions to Make
First Round Pick
Thanks to a lot of rest for their key players towards the end of last year, the Raptors are now in a great position to get a good draft pick (7th best odds). They have a 7.5 percent chance at landing the number one pick and a 31.9 percent chance at a top-four pick. With a great crop of prospects at the top of this year’s draft, that’s almost a one in three chance at getting a franchise player. Any one of Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs, or Jalen Green would certainly vault the Raptors back up the Eastern Conference standings. As of right now, if the Raptors wound up picking seventh, Davion Mitchell out of Baylor is the predicted selection in most mock drafts.
The Raptor’s important players entering free agency are Lowry and Gary Trent Jr. Lowry is the most intriguing. He was rumored to be on the move at the trade deadline before the team surprisingly decided to hold onto him. Lowry will be an unrestricted free agent, so at 35 years old he will probably sign with a contender. Gary Trent Jr. is a restricted free agent, so the Raptors can match any offer he receives. While he had a few nice games for the Raptors (including a 44 point game in April) he was inconsistent for the most part. Unless the Raptors can bring him back at a discount it may be in their best interest to let him walk. With starting center Khem Birch also a free agent, the Raptors have to address the point guard and center positions this offseason.
What the Toronto Raptors Should Do
Depending on what happens in the draft lottery (June 22nd), it will determine what course of action the Raptors should take. If they get a top-four pick, they will be able to upgrade at either guard or center (if they draft Mobley) and then fill their other positional needs in free agency. An example is drafting Cade Cunningham or Jalen Suggs and then signing Andre Drummond in free agency. That’s a best-case scenario. If the Raptors can’t get a high draft pick, they have to start thinking about rebuilding. Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam, the two best players on the team, are both in the primes of their careers right now. If trading their pick this year can’t land them a third quality player to help those two out, then it is time to consider trading both of them and go for a full-on rebuild.
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