The 2021 NBA Draft is set for Thursday, July 29 at 8:00 p.m. ET.
In this year's draft, the Toronto Raptors are owners of the No. 4 overall pick in the first round, as well as the Nos. 46 and 47 selections in the second round. On Wednesday, July 7, the Raptors hosted a draft workout that featured six prospects as the pre-draft process continues to heat up.
2021 NBA DRAFT: Who have the Raptors worked out?
Following the workout, Raptors Assistant General Manager Dan Tolzman took questions from the media in a Zoom press conference, speaking on topics that ranged from the team's pre-draft approach, the process behind getting players in for workouts and whether or not the impending free agency of Kyle Lowry will have an impact on Toronto's selection.
Find more of what Tolzman discussed below.
On which parts of the pre-draft process changed after winning the No. 4 overall pick
"Not a ton, 'cause it's like we do so much work beforehand - before the lottery comes. I think there's definitely - as the direction of the season goes, you kinda know where you generally are gonna land, so you begin to prepare for that area of the draft already, and so we kinda knew we were going to be - worst-case scenario - a mid-lottery team, so we did a lot of work in preparation of that and who we were seeing and being able to get out on the road and really get to know and then to be able to move up to four, if anything it made our job a little bit - I hate to say easier - but at least it narrowed down the number of people we're really going to be drilling in on at that point.
"From a workout standpoint, from a weeks-leading-up-to-the-draft standpoint, nothing really changes, it just, maybe if anything, a little extra added pressure of just making sure we leave no stone unturned and make sure we know everything we're doing with that pick."
MORE: Key questions face Raptors after lottery luck
On if selecting fourth makes bringing prospects in easier
"It's kinda funny, if anything it made it a little more difficult. I think there's always a public perception of who's in what range sort of thing and agents have the same sort of mentality with their players, of 'you're not gonna consider my guy at a certain number,' so we kinda moved into this range where there's a lot of players that think we're not gonna consider them but then, at the same time, our other picks are too low for them so we're in this kinda weird bookend range, where we're getting a lot of players that don't think we're actually a viable option for them, so we've been hitting some lulls in trying to get some guys that are in the mid-range that we actually really, really like…
"…You never know what happens on draft night or what we can do to try to go back and get them but I understand it's a part of the process every year and agents have to prioritize the teams that are best for them and it's something that you work with and a little bit of a back-and-forth dance that we do every year in terms of trying to convince people why it's important that they come see us and be around our organization, even if it's just for a day, but it is what it is."
On the fluidity of Toronto's ranking of top prospects
"I think it's definitely very fluid still. I think that … even though the group of players that we're kind of honing in on is smaller than normal - than it would be if we had the 25th pick or whatever, it's still big enough to where there's opportunities for people to move around in that. The film study doesn't stop, the discussions don't stop and we're gonna have some guys in and get to know them a little better. That could help jockey positions of that list a little bit.
"And then at the same time on draft night, you never know what curveballs come up and guys get taken elsewhere or opportunities to move around on draft night. You never know what's going to come up so you always have to have a stacking order that you feel comfortable with, regardless of if you end up at four or elsewhere, to just be ready for.
"I think it's definitely not a finished process in terms of the number of guys that we're taking a look at but there is a sense of 'OK, we know who we're kind of considering,' and then now within that group let's really spend the next two-three weeks of trying to sort out who we consider to be the best among that group."
MORE: Where Raptors stand entering free agency
On Lowry's impending free agency impacting Toronto's selection
"Not really, honestly, we've always been a group that takes talent first. You know, the best available players are usually who we go with. We've never really made draft selections based on the current roster because they're so many uncertainties - we could have our whole core lined up and draft for someone to plug in and then a blockbuster trade comes and all of a sudden we've got holes all over the board. So, it's never something that at least we try to factor in when we're gonna select anybody."
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