The Toronto Raptors have had their sights set on the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery from the moment they missed out on the postseason for the first time since 2013.
With the NBA Draft Lottery set for Tuesday, June 22, there's under a week remaining to get all of your good luck charms in order in hopes that Toronto can land a pick better than its projected.
According to Tankathon, the Raptors are favoured to land the No. 8 overall pick with a 33.9 percent chance. But for all of the hopeful fans out there, that's only a a slightly higher percentage than the team's 31.9 percent chance of landing a top-four pick.
MORE: Fast facts on Raptors' lottery odds
Should Toronto luck into a top-four pick, what would the ideal selection be at each of the first four spots?
No. 1 pick: Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State
Odds for pick: 7.5 percent
It's as simple as this: if you win the lottery and earn the No. 1 pick, you select Cunningham, regardless of fitting a need.
The 6-foot-8, 220-pound guard is a franchise-altering talent that fits in to any box possible because of his size and skillset.
MORE: Cunningham scouting report: strengths, weaknesses, player comparisons
With Lowry's future in Toronto pending as an unrestricted free agent, he could take over the full-time point guard role and command the Raptors' offence with Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and company running alongside him. If Lowry returns to the Raptors, Cunningham can seamlessly slide in next to the six-time All-Star, giving the team a three-level scoring threat and versatile defender on the wing as well as another option as a primary ball-handler.
Cunningham's ability to control the tempo of a game, make his teammates around him better and score for himself makes him a multi-faceted offensive weapon. That, combined with his motor, energy and will to win on the defensive end is what makes him a perfect fit for this Toronto team, or any team in the league, for that matter.
No. 2 pick: Evan Mobley, USC
Odds for pick: 7.8 percent
With Cunningham all but certainly going No. 1, that leaves the 7-foot, 215-pound freshman Mobley available for the team that selects second. Even if the Raptors don't "win" the lottery, earning the No. 2 pick would be a certified win in terms of fitting a need, because the 19-year-old is the best big man in this draft class.
I already touched on how Mobley would be a dream fit for the Raptors, but in short, he has all the tools to become a franchise cornerstone center, with go-to scoring potential on offence and a rim-protecting anchor on defence.
His 7-foot-4 wingspan parlays well with his defensive instincts, making him the best shot blocker in college basketball last season. His footwork and agility are uncanny for his size, giving head coach Nick Nurse another versatile option defensively. He would give the Raptors a much-needed pick-and-roll and lob threat on offence while also being able to keep up with the team's fast pace of play.
MORE: Mobley scouting report: strengths, weaknesses, player comparisons
Slide him in a lineup with VanVleet, Siakam, OG Anunoby and either guard set to hit free agency and you're looking at a team that will contend in the East for years to come.
No. 3 pick: Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga
Odds for pick: 8.1 percent
If you want to talk about Lowry insurance, look no further than Suggs.
With free agency taking place after the draft, that could potentially make this selection redundant if Lowry elects to re-sign. But if the Raptors have any hesitations about the 35-year-old floor general's plans for the future, it would be a brilliant idea to go with the Gonzaga product if they land the third pick.
Suggs is anything you could ask for in a leader and would give the Raptors the protégé to succeed the franchise's all-time greatest player.
MORE: Suggs scouting report: strengths, weaknesses, player comparisons
At 6-foot-4, and 205 pounds, Suggs has an NBA-ready body, and could assume the starting point guard role on Day 1. He's extremely unselfish, a premier playmaker in this draft class and is at his best on the fly in transition, which perfectly suits the way this Raptors' roster is constructed.
Suggs takes pride on the defensive side of the ball as an elite perimeter defender with active hands and great anticipation skills, continuing the trend of a lockdown backcourt alongside VanVleet, while providing more size than usual at the guard position.
In terms of fit for both sides - player and team - I'm not sure there's many more franchises selecting in the lottery that could maximize Suggs' potential more than Toronto, should Lowry move on in free agency.
No. 4 pick: Jalen Green, G League Ignite
Odds for pick: 8.5 percent
At this pick, the potential players available become less clear without seeing the lottery order first. It would be hard to imagine three teams pass on Mobley, but the landing spots of Suggs, Green and his Ignite teammate Jonathan Kuminga are more dependent on what the teams in the top five need, as all three players offer completely different skillsets.
With that being said, if the Raptors land at pick No. 4 and Green is one of the names available, it would be worth the risk of taking a home run swing on a player that has the most superstar potential in this draft, Cunningham aside.
MORE: Green scouting report: strengths, weaknesses, player comparisons
The electrifying guard is a walking highlight reel with a ceiling of flirting with a scoring title. His streakiness as a shooter is what lowers his floor, but his lightning-quick first step, explosive leaping ability and advanced arsenal as a shot creator is why his ceiling is so high.
With this Raptors roster, if Gary Trent Jr. were to end up elsewhere in free agency, Green would fill the microwave scoring void left behind from he and Norman Powell. Even if Toronto matches an offer for Trent, adding Green into the mix can only help mend the team's stagnant halfcourt offence.
If selected by the Raptors, he may not get the shine and shot attempts he'd like right away, but patience and development could go a long way in terms of maximizing his potential long-term.
This would be a fun scenario for Raptors fans looking for a jolt of energy coming off of a disappointing season.
Names to consider outside the top four
The Raptors have a 19.8 percent chance at the No. 7 pick, a 33.9 percent chance at the No. 8 pick, a 13.0 percent chance at the No. 9 pick and a 1.4 percent chance at the No. 10 pick.
In no particular order, the players to keep in mind should Toronto land in slots 7-through-10: Tennessee guard Keon Johnson, Baylor guard Davion Mitchell, Florida State forward Scottie Barnes, Texas centre Kai Jones or Adelaide 36ers guard Josh Giddey.
I already touched on how Johnson, Mitchell or Jones would be ideal selections for the Raptors based on fit and potential availability at their most probable selection at No. 8. You can find that article here.
As for Barnes and Giddey, these two unique point-forward style guards could maximize their potential in Toronto's known talent development system.
Barnes would fit the mould of a tenacious defender under head coach Nick Nurse, while his playmaking ability at 6-foot-9 would offer something similar to what we see with star forward Siakam at times. Giddey would give the Raptors a Lowry fall-back option as one of the best floor generals in this draft class, fitting seamlessly next to combo guards like VanVleet and Flynn or sharpshooters like Trent, should Toronto match his restricted free agent offer sheet.
For a franchise that has a great history of getting the most out of their draft picks, there isn't necessarily a bad spot to land in a draft class that should have more than a handful of diamonds in the rough.
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