[2021] Raptors Draft Day Debrief

cricket

Position Coach
LV
0
 
Posts
24
Karma
28
TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA
2021-07-24 - Press Conference
Traduction française disponible sur TSN


The Toronto Raptors, after a quiet pre-draft period, had a very busy draft day. Two draft day trades, some star swaps, and a few new faces to T-Dot were all part of an exciting evening. Raptors management sat down with local media to answer some questions and provide some statements on the day.


Introducing The Day

I thought it might be nice to talk about some trade discussion, and give a little insight into one of the biggest trades of the draft. I have posted this with permission from MasonAsher of the Thunder and SyndaKyt of the Magic, for potential privacy reasons about trades and such. I also asked the other people who contacted me about trades that did not work out if I could post their blurbs, and they all agreed.

I had originally not really planned to much do anything with my draft. I was very happy to have #6 and get a chance at an 80+ overall young star, and I had no idea how the sim would shake out. I was not totally satisfied with the balance of my roster, with a glut of PGs and PFs to match my Max guys, but most people had me as sort of the “Mendoza line” of the sim, with an almost entirely balanced roster based on age, talent, and potential. That is a tough place to be, but at least it left me some room to maneuver in any direction.


The Other Considered Trades: What Else Was Out There

There had been few offers or interest in trades, although some were interesting. The first two were well in advance pre-draft, but the last one and the actual trade with the Thunder itself were done in the immediate lead-up to the draft room, in addition to the Magic trade being done in the draft itself. I did not put much information in the trade block to begin with, and I waited awhile to see the early trades before making some decisions myself.

  • There was a swap of rotation players and another Top 10 pick for the #6, but I didn’t think that was where I wanted to move around to and there wasn’t anything further discussed.
  • I received a swap of Max contract guys from someone else, but I did not like the exact player swap so I declined. We did not really discuss further at the end of that.
  • I also received an offer from one of the rebuilding teams to try and move up to #6, but they did not have a worthwhile star to offer and I felt their combination of picks were not quite enough even with some kind of player additions. Those negotiations took me a little bit of time to figure out, but I could not see a way forward.

The Thunder Megadeal: A Winding Road

The Thunder had contacted me the night before the draft, but I had gone to bed so I did not see it until the morning of. At first he just offered the picks straight up for each other, #6 for the lower two Firsts. I did not think there was enough value in that, but I started combing through his roster. I was trying to find some way to make up the difference, and I did not like some of my roster composition that was generated. I had two great PGs, including a young guy I rated highly with a Max star to boot. But the Thunder had something interesting with Louis Chandler, and a possible need at PG themselves for depth. I was really intrigued with the prospect of swapping Chandler and George Watson, since I had John Hall as a promising young leader and it would balance my roster out. I think the only reason this trade went through in the end, rather than it dying like some others, was because of this possibility I saw in a player swap after the Thunder said everyone was available in a trade.

So I sat and debated with myself about how to bridge the gap. It took me a long time to figure out how to make that gap up. The big problem I had was that I had a chance to get a sixth 80+ overall player straight up in the draft, but if I just traded the pick I would not get that. I thought the Chandler and Watson swap was a slight favorite to me, but I did not think the opportunity cost of getting that made up for losing a young great prospect to get an 80+ overall player. Because of the way our 80+ players stacked against each other, the only real place to find some value was in the backcourt. I really wanted to naturally add a sixth 80+ guy, but MasonAsher did not seem keen on parting with one. We also both had a star PF and an 80+ PF, and as I liked my two players more there was not much room there to discuss a trade on my end. I did mention that if the Thunder had something more along the lines of what Detroit had at #18 and #19 that would be a more appealing package than the Firsts they had, but the valuation of what the Thunder had did not quite move the needle enough for me. I did not have any contact with Detroit, and I believe when I looked through their roster I did not see many players that I would have wanted as a bit-part exchange, so perhaps a moot point.

The Thunder had their guy in hand at #6, Moises Farr, from the jump. They had been trying to trade all up and down the draft in the top picks, but it did not seem like anyone was very interested from what I heard. I thought picks #4-#9 were pretty interchangeable, so I was not super happy at #6 as opposed to one of the lower ones. I probably would have picked Farr if I was in this spot anyway, maybe Fred Andrews, so I did not lose anything there. I think MasonAsher did suggest he was working the lines with Indiana at #4 in particular, especially since the Pacers had their hope taken from them before their turn. He also suggested that he only wanted to pick once, and not twice, so getting the business done and dusted so he could walk out was a preference for him. I did not really have high hopes for #6, so I was willing to keep talking. I think the Thunder felt okay about the backcourt swap from their end too, having commented on each of our rosters. However, doing that on its own was of less interest as opposed to the swap.

We debated the backcourt swap on its own merits, and I would have probably thrown in something there to make up for it, but that did not go. We seemed to have some different priorities in what we wanted, but a deal was probably close. No one else was reaching out about #6 at this time, and I think there was little interest from other teams about trading with the Thunder. One of the considerations I had put in for just the backcourt swap was to include C Jerry Johnson for one of his lesser Centers. I felt okay playing a PF at C, or going Smallball, and I also felt okay with getting a C lower down in the draft based on needs and the board. The Thunder seemed to be okay doing the same strategy themselves, and so that part of the deal was not of interest. We kept talking for awhile too, including during the first few picks of the draft. I think the Thunder may have backed out if Farr was not around, and that would have scuttled the whole grand deal, but perhaps there was someone else they preferred.

Ultimately with Farr on the board at #6, MasonAsher agreed to do a grand swap of all the things we had talked about. The pick exchange, the backcourt swap, and the Center shuffle; all of it would work on their end, and I felt like it would work on my end. It took me a little bit to write it up, since it was a fairly large trade, and probably not one that most of the league was expecting at this point. This was a fairly long and involved trade that went through several permutations before something was agreed on, and is probably very much a consequence of the league being generated as relatively even in the inaugural season. I am not sure that trades of this type will be common in the future.

As for the verdict, I think both of us felt okay with what happened. I think the general consensus that I had won the trade a bit or it being even is maybe fair, but it was really tough for me to give up that really great #6 pick. MasonAsher told me that he felt good about it in two ways; on one he turned #28 and #36 into #6, and he felt he gave up less than Detroit did with the #7 for #18/#19 swap they did after me. He also got an upgrade at his abysmal Center position without really killing his depth in the backcourt. I kept the six 80+ Overall players, balanced the backcourt a little bit, and gave myself two chances a bit lower in the first to pick up some players who might be productive as rookies down the line. It is probably going to be one of those more difficult things to judge the overall winner, so we will wait and see.


The Magic Move: A First For Many Pieces

As for the later trade, the Magic contacted me about a pick mid-way through the First, after the Thunder trade had been completed and other picks had come off the board. It seems they were initially interested in Stephen Bryant, but I did not know this, nor did I ask. They offered the same trade as what became finalized. In truth I did not think about it very long before accepting without a lot of discussion. A look at some of the contracts, and some consideration of future value, and I went for it. I was less attached to #26 to #22, and the chance to get a future First and plug a hole was intriguing. Jermaine Gray’s contract seemed a little iffy to me given the abundance of Centers, and he probably is the player he is. But I liked his balance in overall attributes, and at 7 feet tall he gives me something interesting on the matchups that might come against Jumbo teams.

I did not expect any offers for the lower Firsts as the trade front had really gotten quiet in the mid-rounds, and I was a little surprised that anyone was interested at all. I was planning to just roll with the two picks, but the offer on the table for #26 I felt was too intriguing to really dismiss out of hand. It was agreed to pretty early with not much negotiation, and I suppose in truth I should have asked SyndaKyt who they wanted because I would have felt bad about taking their wanted player. I did not, so probably all good.

As for the verdict, I think most of the broadcast was really curious as to what I was doing here. Was I building for the future, or was I building for now? I think the answer is still that I can be flexible. The long-future First could wind up anywhere, which was fine with me as a swap. I got a Center to plug in if I needed to use one which kept my options at #22 open, and I do not mind the Second Rounders as I find them to be useful darts to throw at a dartboard. In current terms, Gray is about as good as anyone I would pick at #26, and while more expensive I knew I had the cap room to wiggle around with it. Also I think Gray was a slight upgrade over Johnson, so that helps on that end of the position spectrum. I will be curious to see how SyndaKyt manages to do with his moves here to get someone in this spot, and as a move-now consideration it is interesting. It also clears a bit of a logjam they had at Center, which helps roster balance.


The Selected Picks: Baker, Kelly, Thrope

I had to really debate between Stephen Bryant and Lawrence Baker for the selection at #22. I did have an offer from a team I had talked with earlier about if I wanted to trade down, but I declined as I wanted to make a pick here and get a First for this year. Len Shultz was also a consideration, but I felt that I could get some of those attributes in a Center at a later time. It was a very difficult decision, and I needed a lot of the clock to make the pick. I went with Baker mostly because of roster fit, but I really found Bryant hard to pass up. With Taylor on an big expiring, he would be an interesting trade piece should things get bad, but losing him does put a hole in my bigs for the future. I also felt that with a 90+ and 80+ guy at both SG and PF, I could cover SF a little easier in depth situations. Bryant left a little to be desired as a finisher and his shooting percentages were lower than I had hoped, so that played a role. Baker also mirrors Gray in terms of playing style more than Shultz does, and so that will help me see how a system develops over time as both of them should make up my 5s going forward.

As for the Second Rounders, a few of the players I had earmarked at the bottom of the draft did not go unnoticed in the low 50s, and were nabbed before I could go. Jeremy Kelly as a big ball handler with good shooting numbers was pretty clear to me to take at #57 given some of the choices. I project him more as a Combo Guard who could play a bench offense role. At #59 I had a harder time deciding between a bunch of players, so I went with Anton Thorpe for a few reasons. He plays a position of less depth for me, he has great defense which would be a help perhaps, and has good height. He also came from an AI team, and had a lower rating, so I thought it might be worth a flyer to see about how players like him develop. I am actually really excited about the G-League and Second Rounders, and I hope that part of the sim gets developed a bit.


The Aftermath


On the whole, I am hoping these moves get me to a place where midseason deals are possible. If things go well, I believe I have the contracts and trade assets to go after bigger pieces if they become available. If things go poorly, I believe I have the ability to provide some would-be contenders with some good secondary pieces to build their teams for some extra help in the future. The roster is flexible, and I feel like I could play into most styles at a decent ability level given the positions I can put on the floor. At this point I believe it is still possible to straddle the line of now and future, and we will see what the sim brings!

I will now take questions from the media at this time, Merci.
 

SyndaKyt

Coordinator
AAC
LV
0
 
Posts
87
Karma
75
Awards
1
SimBBA Career
VCU
Was high ceiling guard, Devin Houston considered at the 26th pick? He was one of the youngest players in the draft primarily skilled at ball handling and shooting.
 
OP
C

cricket

Position Coach
LV
0
 
Posts
24
Karma
28
Looking at how the draft board played out, I am not sure what I would have done at #26. Devin Houston is an awkward fit in the team I have, but most of the players around this level with any decent potential are in the backcourt. I might have taken him just for balancing purposes with a big and a guard, but there were not many players at that pick range that I liked. Steve Henderson might have been a consideration as well if I wanted a bigger player. Houston is probably the best pick at #26 without looking at fit and circumstance though; I liked a lot of what he brought although the defense put me off a bit.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top