Toronto Raptors Hoping To Add Canadian In 2014 NBA Draft

With the 2014 NBA Draft closing in, pro prospects from around the globe have descended upon the city of Chicago for the annual combine to prove themselves worthy of a selection in June, and for the Toronto Raptors, adding a Canadian to the mix has never been more of a possibility.

Following their unexpected return to the playoffs however, the Raptors lost the tie-breaking coin toss to the Chicago Bulls, meaning that the Atlantic Division champs will pick 20th and participate in the last portion of the opening round for the first time in over a decade.

On top of its first-round draft pick, Toronto also has a pair of second round picks with the 37th (via the Sacramento Kings), and 59th (via the Oklahoma City Thunder) overall selections, but both could still be traded ahead of the big day for a shot at one of the more desired amateurs.

Prior to the start of the regular season, it was widely believed that a best-case scenario for the 2013-14 Raptors would involve nothing more than a low win total rewarded with a lottery pick and crack at Andrew Wiggins, a local product that Canadian basketball junkies would love to see at home.

But because Toronto’s new-found membership in the playoff club doesn’t include lottery privileges, barring a Johnny Manziel-like tumble down the draft board or a trade that would undoubtedly make franchise history, Wiggins won’t be seen in the purple and red anytime soon.

Well aware of this fact, , the Raptors will focus their efforts on draft day towards players they have an actual chance of selecting, and Wiggins isn’t the only Canadian who could help Toronto.

Underclassmen Nik Stauskas and Tyler Ennis are the two highest ranked Canadians outside of Wiggins, but expecting either to still be available by the time Toronto makes its first selection may be a little naïve. At the moment, ESPN’s Chad Ford has Ennis and Stauskas ranked 11th and 12th respectively in his top 100, while CBS also has the three-point threat at 11th, but the point guard sits significantly lower at 19th.

Considering the amount of talent in the class of 2014 and the various needs that each team will attempt to fulfill, Toronto should still be in a position to add a serviceable rookie on June 26, and simply having the opportunity to consider a Canadian draft pick has added a new dimension to the process over the past few years.

Last season, the Raptors didn’t even have a draft pick to ponder. But in 2012, the franchise chose Terrence Ross with the eighth overall selection and are anxious to improve upon the team’s draft history, which has been littered with disappointments.

Ty is an NBA writer for Follow him on Twitter @abovethefoldTy.

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  • Brutal

    Lost all credibility when you said the team wears purple and red. They’ve also drafted quite well recently (DeRozan, Ross, Valanciunas). This article is reaching on assumptions and zero facts. Not much journalism here.

  • northof40

    Littered with disappointments?!? Sure Arujo and Bargnani were largely busts, but come on! Damon Stoudamire (All Star), Marcus Camby (Defensive Player of the Year), Tracy McGrady (All Star), Antawn Jamison/Vince Carter (All Star), Morris Peterson, Chris Bosh (All Star), DeMar DeRozen (All Star), Terrance Ross and Jonas Valanciunas were all drafted by this organization. This author is dumb!

  • Phil Verhey

    Raptors pick 20 and 37; require a flexable small forward that can shoot the three, sprint the floor both ways and is intelligent and mature enough to learn a role fast; play with confidence… Melvin Ejim, 4years college ball, conference single game point record and player of the year OVER Wiggens! 3/4 court sprint time of 3.14seconds, 18 of 25 from nba 3pt line at combine, 35inch verticle leap… and from GTA area. Also considered to be a late 1st round to mid 2nd round pick when Raptors hold 2 picks… What was the headline of this article again? Read it again, it says Melvin Ejim future Raptor, soon to be running th floor, catching the double swing pass and dropping the corner three or driving baseline past out of control closers to dunk or dish to DeMar , Vasquez, Amir, Jonas and Lowry on the perimeter or behind the help in the lane at an Air Canada Centre near you! Coming fall 2014.