Twice as nice for Raps?

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

For just the second time in 16 NBA drafts, the Raptors might be making a pair of first-round selections.

That is certainly the impression the team is creating after two days of draft workouts.

Instead of sticking to some of the more widely known names eligible for the June 24 draft, the Raptors are bringing in just about anybody they can get to agree to come.

Tuesday it was potential late first- early second-rounders' Devin Ebanks of West Virginia, Gani Lawal of Georgia Tech, Samardo Samuels of Louisville, Latavious Williams of the NBA Developmental League and two players completely off the radar in Tulsa guard Ben Uzoh and UCLA guard Michael Roll.

Though Raptors senior director of player personnel Jim Kelly was coy: "We consider everybody." It would be a massive shock if any of the six were seriously in the mix for the club's 13th overall selection.

But later on in the night, they just might be.

"That's part of the strategy as well," Kelly confirmed when queried if the presence of so many lower-ranked prospects could be taken as a sign that the team is serious about adding another pick.

"A lot of times we're out there, we think this can happen or that can happen so you bring some different kinds of people in there because the last couple of days before the draft you can't get (anybody in for a workout)."

Every year the team seems to let it be known that it is in the market for an extra first-rounder, but it never seems to happen. Only in 2005, when Rob Babcock and company opted for Charlie Villanueva and Joey Graham (with players such as Danny Granger and Andrew Bynum still on the board), did the team make two picks in the first round.

But in this year's unique NBA landscape, things feel a little different.

With an unprecedented number of elite free agents available, teams will be looking to shed salary like never before.

Do the Bulls, Heat and Nets, to name three examples, really want their middling-to-late first-round picks, or will they want to open up even more money in the pursuit of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest?

The Heat also has three second-round selections.

There are the teams that have hoarded picks, but are far more in need of stabilizing veterans.

The Minnesota Timberwolves own three first- and three second-round picks, the Memphis Grizzlies have three firsts, so there will be opportunities.

Of Tuesday's participants, Ebanks -- who helped lead Virginia Tech on its stirring run to the Final Four -- seemed to most catch Toronto's fancy.

"They told me they are looking for toughness, defence, scoring ability and I think I can add that," Ebanks said.

Kelly said Ebanks has come a long way.

"His shot was very fundamentally sound, I don't think he had that last year (when he toyed with entering the draft)."

"He has length. He's one of those players that can defend one, two, or three positions (and) he puts the ball on the floor OK. I think he's a very interesting player for NBA teams."

Williams also intrigues. The 6-foot-8, 190-pounder is trying to become the first player to jump directly from the D-League to the NBA.

He skipped college and decided against a more lucrative contract in China (his mom said it was too far away) to play in the less than glamorous D-League.


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