A pair of lottery picks?

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

Don't look now, but the Raptors could have two lottery picks next season.

With the Denver Nuggets fading and ninth in the Western Conference standings, their first round pick -- owned by the Raptors from the Vince Carter trade -- could move into the lottery. The pick is protected in the top five, but a spot in the lower top 10 wouldn't be too shabby. If the Nuggets keep struggling, that pick will become better trade bait.

The Raptors, of course, also have their own pick, which is destined to be in the lottery.

MORE ROSE RUMOURS

Raptors swingman Jalen Rose continues to see his name in rumours and the latest has him as part of a three-team deal involving Indiana Pacers bad boy Ron Artest.

The rumour, making the rounds on the internet and talk radio but shot down by several insiders, has Artest and Rose going to the Lakers, Devean George going to the Pacers and Austin Croshere and a Laker heading to the Raptors. However, Pacers president Larry Bird said "it's going to take time" to make a deal for Artest.

LOUD INSTRUCTIONS

In the past two games, Raptors rookie forward Joey Graham has received an earful from a couple of veterans after some issues on the defensive end. On Tuesday, it was Chris Bosh making the loud point and Wednesday, Mike James made his feelings known to Graham.

That's not a problem for Graham, who didn't even consider it yelling.

"It's so loud out there that it might seem like yelling, but they're really just saying be here or be there," Graham said. "It's not really yelling or anything like that. It's just trying to be in the right place at the right time."

MODEST GOALS

The Raptors can finish December at .500 (7-7) with a win tonight in Indiana.

"You've got to start somewhere," point guard Mike James said. "You've got to set small goals. Before we can try to think about winning the NBA championship, we can at least say let's win (tonight's) game and let's try to go .500 for the month of December."


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