Raps stay with 9th pick

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

Secaucus, New Jersey has been good to Bryan Colangelo before, but at first glance, one would say not last night.

Colangelo went into last night's NBA draft lottery with the ninth pick overall based on his team's 33-49 record and came away with the same slot in the draft.

Colangelo, though, looked at the broader picture and came away enthused with what transpired.

"I have been in this situation before where I was sitting at the table and ended up not moving back or away from the No. 9 selection and ended up with some success there," Colangelo said on a conference call from Secaucus. "First with Shawn Marion and the second time with Amare Stoudamire. The fact that no team behind us jumped up ahead of us I think is obviously a very positive thing. I also look at the fact that six of the top seven picks in the draft will go to Western Conference teams as another positive. Washington in particular who had very good odds to end up with the No. 1 selection (second best in the lottery) ended up moving down three spots. I can't imagine a situation where the circumstances could work out any more favourably (for the Raptors) other than us jumping up to one of the top three spots."

GRIZZLIES MOVE UP

Three years ago, Colangelo managed to pull that off going in with the No. 5 pick and moving all the way up to No. 1 where he drafted Italian big man Andrea Bargnani.

This time around it was the Memphis Grizzlies who made the biggest jump going all the way from No. 6 up to second overall. The L.A. Clippers, who began the day selecting third, won the lottery and will select first with the chance -- some would say lock -- to pick Oklahoma State power forward Blake Griffin.

The Raps w on't make their No. 9 selection until June 25th but they'll spend the time between now and that date determining who is the best person to pick.

Players expected to be available around the No. 9 selection will be brought in for workouts at the Air Canada Centre. Colangelo and his staff will also be attending open workouts.

As for moving up in the draft via the trade route, Colangelo has suggested that's a huge long shot this year.

"Unless L.A. (Clippers) is entertaining moving the No. 1 pick it would be tough to justify moving up to say two or three or even one of the picks just ahead of us,' he said. "At No. 9 it is becoming more and more apparent that we are going to get a player that we like. I've gone on record saying there are 10 or 12 guys in this draft that our scouting staff and management are excited about with respect to what a player might be able to add .... There's a few players that could possibly come in and have an immediate impact."

Colangelo said the Raptors may acquire an additional pick. Toronto does not own a secondround pick. That pick was dealt to Detroit.

As for what he will be looking for at No. 9, Colangelo was somewhat vague.

"I would say that the thing we are looking for more than anything is a talent to improve our basketball team," he said.

Colangelo and his newly-extended head coach Jay Triano have not been shy in expressing the need for more toughness in the lineup.


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