Raptors thinking 'big'

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

With just three days remaining until the NBA draft, the Raptors spent the weekend looking at a mix of unsigned NBA castoffs, international players and development league veterans.

While there didn't appear to be a Jamario Moon -- who made the team through the same workout process last season -- in this year's mix, a few players (former New Jersey Nets' Hassan Adams and Dakota Wizards D-League centre Rod Benson -- opened eyes and could wind up getting a further look down the road. Those decisions won't be made until the Raptors determine what they can get with their 17th pick in the draft.

To that end, the Raptors will hold another workout for potential draft selections today and possibly another on Wednesday.

For now, Raptors director of player personnel Jim Kelly says the team will collect as much information as possible, whether it's potential picks in the draft or players who could round out their 15-man roster for the coming season.

"We don't know how many we're looking at because we're talking about some trade scenarios right now.

We're talking about the possibilities of who we would take in the draft, we're talking about what happens if we make this trade and lose two or three players but don't have a lot of money. Maybe we have a lower salary area where these type of players (unsigned free agents) might fit in. But having all this in front of us over the next four or five days is going to be very helpful."

In what was perhaps the best indication of which way the Raptors are leaning come Thursday, was Kelly's answer when asked if the Raptors had determined from the bigs they have seen, whether one is more ready to contribute at the NBA level right away."

"That's a good question," Kelly said. "That's the guy we are trying to find so if I tell you the answer to that question, you'll know who we are picking. But it is a rare draft that at 17, and even after 17, there are going to be guys at 6-foot-11 and up to 7-feet that still are there to be picked. You don't get that in many drafts."

Having said that, the Raps will bring 6-foot-9 forward J.J. Hickson back for a second workout today. Hickson, out of North Carolina State, is rated a mid-to-late first-round pick.

Kelly did appear to close the door on Frenchman Nicolas Batum, who was in Toronto on Thursday but did not work out after the Raptors discovered a problem in his physical, a problem they are not making public.

"One of the big considerations is his medical situation and I don't want to get into that," he said. "We have no problem with him as a person. He took part in the workout in Oakland but he had just come to the States for the first time. The guys who go to the Orlando pre-draft camp have a physical there but the international players (such as Batum) are still playing at that time so they don't go. He wasn't in Oakland in time to get a physical in Oakland so we just happened to be the team that did his physical.

"And while we don't want to be the bad guys, we were the guys who uncovered whatever was uncovered."


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