So the Raptors dodge a bullet last night and lose the lottery as expected. You may say why root against the Raptors winning the lottery. There are a few reasons why. The first being that this draft class likely offers players that are not worth the money the draft slots they will fill in terms of price. In addition the Raptors are already pressed to the limit in terms of the expected cap for next season and tax threshold number. So while you would add talent the price would be far too high in a couple ways.
Secondly, it clears one of the problems left by Colangelo going forward in the pick that was used to acquire Kyle Lowry. Now Oklahoma City will select 12th and we no longer need to be concerned about that trade. It also gives the Raptors full control of their pick for next season’s draft. A draft class that is expected to be much stronger and led by Andrew Wiggins the Canadian star who will be a freshman at Kansas this season. But the Raptors regardless of if they will be in the lottery or not at least control their pick again and have a piece they could use in trades with a new G.M coming into the fold.
The Raptors really want to win in their search for a new G.M. They have made contact with the Nuggets in order to officially have conversations with their clear number one candidate Masai Ujiri who is the executive of the year in the NBA and a former member of the Raptors management under Colangelo.
He is the clear number one for a variety of reasons. He showed what he is made of in his time with Denver. How he handled the Carmelo Anthony situation in comparison to how Colangelo handled the Bosh situation when Ujiri was still part of the Raptors showed he was watching and learning. He is widely praised for what he was able to get in a situation where he cleared was forced into a tough situation.
He is familiar with the Raptors organization having been a part of it along with all the challenges that go with it. No matter what people say or think the Raptors are indeed the most unique market in the NBA and it offers it’s own very specific challenges. Ones that Ujiri would enter in with his eyes wide open too. It is a safe bet the MLSE can offer far more in terms of money than Denver can or is willing to offer. If this is just a case of who has the deeper pockets the Raptors will get their man. If he turns them down it will lead to all kinds of questions. Did he because he knows the issues and doesn’t feel they can be over come? Tim Leiweke seems convinced they can be but he just got here and people who have been here for 18 years plus can tell you how many have come along thinking the same way only to be met with the cold reality of the fact the Raptors are a unique franchise that have unique challenges. You can’t hide the fact the Toronto is in Canada and the TSN is not ESPN. It is different here just ask Chris Bosh. Solving how you over come that is probably one of the keys to have long-term success here.
Colangelo thought he found a loop hole to the problem by turning to Europe and looking to build a mainly Euro-based roster. That has proven to be only successful to a point. In the end you have to still have some American talent to be successful. What also will be a challenge for whoever is next s how they choose to embrace the influx of Canadian talent entering the fold? Anthony Bennett of UNLV by way of Canada was featured on the Draft Lottery show. In the mix to be a top 5 pick. Andrew Wiggins is almost destined to be the number one pick next season. It is a wave of Canadian Talent that has invaded the NCAA and now is starting to invade the NBA as well. How the new G.M handles that may be as big a factor as any. Colangelo added the first ever Canadian to the Raptors an aging and over the hill Jamaal Maglorie. That was a mistake but to land an emerging and growing Canadian talent seems almost a necessity going forward for this franchise. But they likely are far too good to seriously dream about getting Andrew Wiggins in the short term. If they pick the right G.M now however who is to say he can’t build a franchise that could make a run at Wiggins in the future in free agency. That remains realistic for him and many other Canadians that will eventually be part of the free agent landscape.