The Raptors have been rightfully credited for finding young talent in the past, including a remarkable three-year stretch from 2015-17 where they hit on every draft pick, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. They found several diamonds in the rough, including Fred VanVleet, who went undrafted, which is how they became one of the league’s best teams for multiple years.
However, aside from Scottie Barnes, Toronto hasn’t found an impact player over the past five drafts, according to Grange. He believes last year’s deadline deal for Thaddeus Young has proven to be a bad decision, as Young hasn’t been contributing and trading down from No. 20 overall to No. 33 cost the Raptors the opportunity to draft players like Jazz center Walker Kessler (No. 22) or Andrew Nembhard (No. 31), who shined for Indiana in Toronto on Wednesday.
Grange acknowledges that it’s easy to say the team should have drafted certain players with the benefit of hindsight, but it’s the Raptors’ job to find and develop talent — they simply haven’t had much success with it in recent years, and the proof is evident in their lack of depth.
Here’s more on the Raptors:
- Some rival executives think the Raptors’ front office plans to run things back in the offseason with minor tweaks around the edges, but Doug Smith of The Toronto Star argues that would be the worst decision they could make, suggesting that a major move is needed to break the team out of its season-long morass. Smith points to Wednesday’s dispiriting loss to the Pacers as an example of why the front office would be foolish to believe the team is good enough to contend as is, particularly given the importance of the game.
- The 36-38 Raptors are determined to get Barnes and the team’s other young players more postseason experience, which is why they acquired Jakob Poeltl at the trade deadline. Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca takes a look at where the Raptors are in the Eastern Conference standings, writing that the No. 8 seed is probably the most realistic target. That would give the team two chances to make the playoffs via the play-in tournament, Lewenberg notes.
- Barnes (wrist), Precious Achiuwa (hamstring) and Gary Trent Jr. (wrist) were all sidelined again on Friday, tweets Lewenberg, but the Raptors easily rolled past the last-place Pistons. It was the second straight absence for all three players, who had previously been listed as questionable.