Lots riding on Raptors' lottery slot

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:05 PM ET

The big mystery that is this year's NBA draft will provide some clarity for the Raptors Tuesday night when the league's annual draft lottery unfolds.

Once the process is completed, once all the slots have been determined, the exact quality the Raptors may potentially fetch will become a little clearer.

In the history of the Raptors, the club has twice emerged as winners, the first in 1996 when the league's expansion rules would not allow Toronto to pick first overall.

Ten years later, the Raptors would win the lottery with the fifth-worst odds, but it was a draft class minus a true franchise-changing player.

In 2006, GM Bryan Colangelo decided to make Andrea Bargnani the first overall pick, a player whose uncertain future in Toronto mirrors the many uncertainties that continue to hover over the franchise.

One unknown that will officially become known is Toronto's draft slot, a number that could be as high as first overall or as low as sixth.

Whether it's a team such as the Raptors, Minnesota or Cleveland, it's become quite apparent that this year's draft features two bona fide stars in Duke point guard Kyrie Irving and Arizona small forward Derrick Williams, who projects as a scoring power forward in the NBA.

If the Raptors do win the lottery, picking Irving is a no-brainer, a Chris Paul type player who can create on his own, distribute the ball and who can play in both the half court and full court.

Williams is a talent the Raptors cannot pass on if their name gets attached to the No. 2 slot.

They'll be a glut of power forwards on Toronto's roster, but they'll also be options in the form of trades if Williams is taken.

Outside of Irving and Williams, it's anyone's guess who will be taken where, no shortage of speculation, no mock draft capable of telling the true story.

As far as the Raptors are concerned, they can use a true centre, a guy who will defend the paint and the rim.

Regardless of the details of a new labour deal, the Raptors have positioned themselves to spend, one of the benefits of going with so much youth this past season when Toronto went 22-60.

The NBA's free-agent market is expected to feature a handful of legitimate centres who will draw interest from the Raptors.

A small forward would help, shooters, guys capable of creating late in the shot clock, there's so much that needs to improve, but the events of Tuesday night will officially usher in the beginning of much change for the Raptors.

NEED TO KNOW

NBA Draft Lottery

When: Tuesday, 8:30 p.m., TSN2

Where: NBA's entertainment studios in Secaucus, N.J.

Why: To determine the first three picks in next month's draft; remaining slots based on reverse order of the win-loss record for the remaining teams.

Top Five Odds

(of acquiring first overall pick)

1. Minnesota 25%

2. Cleveland 19.9%

3. TORONTO 15.6%

4. Washington 11.9%

5. Sacramento 07.6%

Against All Odds

(of acquiring first overall pick)

1. Houston .... 0.50%

2. Phoenix ... 0.60%

3. Utah .... 0.70%

4. Golden State .. 0.80%

5. Milwaukee ... 01.10%

How Odds Impact Raptors

Based on their 22-60 record, third-worst in the NBA, the Raptors can pick as high as first overall or as low as sixth overall. The following grid shows the odds of Toronto falling into one of the top-six slots.

First 15.6%

Second 15.73%

Third 15.57%

Fourth 22.55%

Fifth 26.50%

Sixth 04.05%

Faces in the Crowd

A total of 12 team representatives will serve as the on-stage participants (Cleveland acquired a first-round pick from the L.A. Clippers; Utah from New Jersey).

Charlotte: Paul Silas (head coach)

Cleveland: Nick Gilbert (owner Dan Gilbert's son)

Detroit: Greg Monroe (last year's lottery pick)

Golden State: Joe Lacob (owner)

Houston: Kyle Lowry (player)

Milwaukee: John Hammond (GM)

Minnesota: David Kahn (GM)

Phoenix: Mark West (VP player programs)

Sacramento: Kevin Johnson (mayor of Sacramento)

TORONTO: Bryan Colangelo (president/GM)

Utah: Kevin O'Connor (GM)

Washington: John Wall (2010 first overall pick)

This Decade's First Overall Lottery Picks

2010 John Wall (Washington)

2009 Blake Griffin (LA Clippers)

2008 Derrick Rose (Chicago)

2007 Greg Oden (Portland)

2006 Andrea Bargnani (Toronto)

2005 Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee)

2004 Dwight Howard (Orlando)

2003 LeBron James (Cleveland)

2002 Yao Ming (Houston)

2001 Kwame Brown (Washington)

2000 Kenyon Martin (New Jersey)

Projected Lottery Picks

Depending on how the ping pong balls drop, it's expected that either Kyrie Irving (Duke) or Derrick Williams (Arizona) will be the first overall pick.

Players likely to be drafted among the top 14:

Donatas Motiejunas, C, Lithuania

Jonas Valanciunas, F, Lithuania

Enes Kanter, C, Turkish-born who was NCAA ineligible

Jan Vesely, SF/PF, Czech Republic

Brandon Knight, PG/SG, Kentucky

Kemba Walker, PG/SG, UConn

Kawhi Leonard, SG, San Diego State

*TRISTAN THOMPSON, PF, Texas

Alec Burks, PG/SG, Colorado

Jimmer Fredette, PG/SG, BYU

Terrence Jones, SF, Kentucky

Marcus Morris, PG, Kansas

Klay Thompson, SG, Washington State

Markieff Morris, PF, Kansas

Bismack Biyombo, PF, from Congo

Jordan Hamilton, G/F, Texas

(* denotes Canadian)


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