Raptors looking to trade in order to draft top Canadian prospect

Published On June 19, 2018 | By Alleiya Tinglin- Dystant | Sports

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Kentucky Wildcats silences the crowd against the Buffalo Bulls in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Taco Bell Arena on March 17 in Boise, Idaho. (Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox).

The Toronto Raptors’ whirlwind of an off-season continues.

After firing the NBA Coach of the Year Dwayne Casey, who garnered the most wins out of any coach in the franchise, the Raptors promoted Assistant Coach Nick Nurse to head coach, signing him to a three-year, $10 million deal.

The Raptors are now looking to make another drastic change to the team.

The Raptors will look to trade into the top 10 of this year’s NBA draft according to reports from the New York Times’ sports reporter Marc Stein.

Draft scuttle: Hearing Toronto is exploring all of its trade options in hopes of assembling a deal to acquire a draft pick high enough to select Kentucky’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

The draft, set to take place Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., features a bevy of talented players. If the Raptors — who are without a first-round pick in this year’s draft — trade into the top 10, there will be plenty of talented players to choose from. However, signs are saying the team is focused on 20-year-old point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Playing most recently at the University of Kentucky, Gilgeous-Alexander is a long athletic point guard who can stuff the stat sheet. The six-foot-six, 180-pound prospect from Hamilton, Ont., preformed well late into the college season. He was the MVP of the Southeastern Conference championship, and averaged 21.8 points, 6.6 assists and 5.8 rebounds along with 2.4 steals a game in the NCAA tournament.

In order to obtain a top 10 draft pick, the Raptors will likely have to give up some substantial pieces of the roster. It is safe to say that if Raptors’ president Masai Ujiri and his front office are looking to draft a point guard, Kyle Lowry or Delon Wright will be involved in any potential deal.

Raptors GM Bobby Webster said last week the team is looking to acquire a first round pick and the team is considering all options involving player movement.

Scouts are very high on Gilgeous-Alexander and his improvement in just one season at Kentucky was drastic. In an interview with the university’s paper, Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari said teams will look back and regret passing on him.

“He’s going to be that kind of player,” Calipari said.

Gilgeous-Alexander would fill a need for the Raptors. He’s a long athletic point guard who has size and a lot of potential, especially on defence. His height and his wingspan of seven feet would allow the Raptors to switch more defensively and his ability to finish around the rim would add another threat offensively.

The knocks on his game accuse him of slight build. Weighing just 180 pounds, he will have to add muscle and size in order to play a full 82-game season in the NBA.

With this news, it’s clear the Raptors will be looking to re-build their roster for the 2018-2019 season. With names like Jonas Valanciunas, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan rumoured as potential trade candidates, the Raptors led by Nurse could be a drastically different team.


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