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Toronto Raptors

Five players the Toronto Raptors should target in the 2020 NBA Draft

Due to a series of trades and the fact they have been so dominant in the last couple of regular seasons, the Toronto Raptors haven't been huge players in the NBA Draft.

The Raptors have only made two selections in the last three years (OG Anunoby at pick 23 in 2017 and Dewan Hernandez at 59 last summer) but that's about to change.

MORE: Free agent destinations Serge Ibaka | Free agent destinations Fred VanVleet

If they decide to hold on to both their first and second-round picks, the Raptors may be looking to add an influx of young talent to a roster that may see turnover with key free agents deciding to go elsewhere.

Their exact position won't be known until the regular season officially ends but considering where they're entering the restart in Orlando, it's safe to say they'll finish near the top of the standings, meaning a first-round pick in the mid-to-low 20s.

While grabbing franchise-changing talent that late in the draft can be difficult, it's not impossible.

Here are five players that the Raptors will be looking at with their potential late first-round draft pick.

Desmond Bane | Guard 6-6, 215 pounds | TCU

When scanning the market of NBA players, it's fairly clear that there isn't a big enough supply of lengthy wings to satisfy demand. For that reason, small forwards and shooting guards are tough to come by.

For a Raptors team that needs wings to surround Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry with moving forward, Desmond Bane is a perfect fit.

What makes Bane so special is that he is one of the best shooters in the draft and he does it all while standing at a robust 6'6" and 215 pounds.

In his four years in college, Bane consistently knocked down jumpers at volume, finishing his career at a blistering 43% from the perimeter. Most impressively he can sprint into shots and find his balance off movement, something extremely important for shooters to find space in the NBA.

Bane is one of the older players in the draft and doesn't possess much offensive ability outside of his ability to shoot, which is the reason he might be available for Toronto. Though he doesn't have a ton of star potential, he has positional size and a reliably stellar 3-point stroke. For that reason, he'd be a great fit for Toronto around its already established core.

Grant Riller | Guard 6-3, 190 pounds | College Of Charleston

If the Raptors are looking to solidify their backcourt while inserting some scoring flash, they should look no further than Grant Riller.

Playing at College Of Charleston, Riller was a bit under the radar but his exceptional ability to score the rock over four years in the NCAA was enough to get NBA looks and possible first-round consideration.

Simply put, Riller is one of the purest scorers in the draft and is arguably the most polished.

His first step is extremely sudden and he has a ton of deception to his dribble game, making him difficult to guard. Despite being only 6'3" and not possessing great athleticism, he's as good a finisher as they come, using otherworldly levels of touch and creativity.

Riller isn't a great athlete and is a solid but not exceptional 3-point shooter (36%), which may keep him available late in the first round. If that's the case, the Raptors should be ecstatic. Riller is someone who can step into the NBA right now and make an impact offensively.

Considering the Raptors might have a lot of their money tied up in key starters, having a polished rookie they know can contribute right away is valuable.

Aleksej Pokusevski | Centre 6-11, 201 pounds | Olympiacos B

Should Toronto not lose anyone major via free agency, it'll once again have its core together and that means it might be ready to take a home run swing on a boom or bust player.

Serbian Aleksej Pokusevski is one of the most fascinating players in the draft. His ball-handling and scoring ability at 7'0" gives off instant Kristaps Porzingis vibes.

Pokusevski is decidedly thinner than Porzingis, which may be a problem for him at the NBA level, but it also allows him to be extremely agile. He's as nimble as they come for a 7-footer and he looks extremely fluid, unlike a lot of bigs his age that still look a bit awkward as they grow into their frame.

Pokusevski was used by his Olympiacos B team as a pick-and-roll ball handler, something that was truly a sight to behold as he at 7'0" got a screen from a 6'1" teammate, and he really impressed in that role. Able to make great reads or finish himself if he needs to, Pokusevski excelled as a go-to offensive option.

In addition to his offensive upside, Pokusevski shows advanced knowledge of defensive concepts, and his timing and shot-blocking were impeccable. Coming over from the weak side to erase shots, he was a difference-maker defensively and that rim protection ability adds to his NBA resume.

Pokusevski is a bit of a unicorn that a lot of teams won't know what to do with, so his projected draft range is tough to nail down. But if he's available, the Raptors might sign up for the development project.

Jordan Nwora | Forward 6-7, 225 pounds | Louisville

Another potential wing for the Raptors to land is Louisville's Jordan Nwora, a 6'7", 225-pound small forward who instantly passes the eye test.

With the combination of his NBA size and 39% 3-point shooting, he easily projects as a 3-and-D wing.

Playing in the ACC with perennial college basketball giants like Duke, North Carolina and Virginia, Nwora is used to playing against the best of the best at his age group and more times than not he was taking on the toughest defensive assignments on the floor. Competitiveness is a trait the Raptors front office has valued in their player evaluations, and Nwora is someone that plays the game hard and loves a challenge.

Nwora also showed his competitive spirit on the glass where he was always one of the best rebounders on the floor, even though he was almost always outsized by bigger frontcourt players. If a team that drafts Nwora wants to play small ball, they can do so knowing he'll really help out on the defensive glass.

Considering how much the Raptors want to play in transition, that trait is desirable.

The knock on Nwora is that he isn't a primary initiator that can get his own shot and is somewhat limited offensively, but his ability to knock down 3s at a high clip and defend his position is something that could fit perfectly in Toronto.

Leandro Balmaro | Guard 6-7, 200 pounds | FC Barcelona

If Toronto wants to draft-and-stash a player in Europe that could help them sometime in the future, Leandro Balmaro is an intriguing talent they have to look at.

Balmaro, a 6'6" guard, is incredibly fun to watch with the basketball in his hands especially when he's looking to distribute. One of the best passers in the draft class, he utilizes great vision and anticipation leading his teammates into scoring positions where they can convert. Balmaro is especially talented at passing the ball in transition, which perfectly fits Toronto's offensive philosophy.

The Raptors are one of the most transition-reliant teams in the NBA and therefore targeting one of the best transition players in the draft makes a lot of sense.

Playing in a fantastic Spanish league for Barcelona, Balmaro is no stranger to playing against great competition and it has allowed him to develop greatly as a player over the last year.

He's still not a great shooter and needs to develop physicality, but his offensive IQ and innate creativity is tough to ignore. The fact that he's not a finished player but excels at parts of the game that are tough to teach makes him a perfect draft-and-stash candidate, and that could be just what the Raptors are looking for.

The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.

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