Tanking unlikely to help Raptors

The Raptors' chances of landing Kentucky's Anthony Davis through the draft are remote, regardless...

The Raptors' chances of landing Kentucky's Anthony Davis through the draft are remote, regardless of the team's record over its final three games. (JEFF HAYNES/Reuters file photo)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:10 PM ET

TORONTO - With three games left ‘Tank Nation’ is gearing up for the final push.

Will your Toronto Raptors lose these final three and guarantee itself a better pick in the draft?

Or will it matter?

First you must consider whether you want them to retain that first-round pick, but we’ll get to that later.

As it stands now, the Raptors will finish somewhere between third and ninth from the bottom in the NBA.

In the draft lottery that will earn the Raptors anywhere from a 15.6% shot at the first overall pick for finishing 27th to a 1.7% chance should they move up to 21st.

So yes, there is a slightly better chance of landing Anthony Davis if they lose their remaining games.

You can also argue that the higher you pick the better chance you have of drafting a superior player. And if drafting were an exact science you would be right, but of course it isn’t.

Fact is what this team does over the final three games is almost irrelevant.

If there is a chance to land Davis, it’s extremely long odds one way or the other. It’s a shot in the dark.

And after Davis the argument can be made there is no quick fix in this draft. The drop off after him is substantial.

The Raptors, as we mentioned, might trade their first pick.

They will already be adding Jonas Valanciunas next season. Despite all that you have heard about his exploits at the under-19 FIBA world championship and later the senior men’s Eurobasket championship, Valanciunas will require time and plenty of patience before he’s NBA ready.

Now throw another first-round selection from this year’s draft into the mix. That’s two roster spots taken up by players who likely won’t contribute much in their first season in the league.

Then factor in GM Bryan Colangelo. Colangelo will be in the second year of a two-year extension and you have to wonder if he can afford to be that patient.

Does he trade the pick?

It’s about this time that probably half the Raptors fan base throws up its hands and screams at the top of their lungs, “No, heavens, no. A thousand times no.”

You’ve waited this long for a contender, you’re willing to stay the course, right?

The Raptors, as an organization, is not. At least all signs point that way.

From Colangelo who needs to see immediate progress to Dwane Casey who wants it sooner rather the later, the more likely play is to package the pick with one of your existing assets and turn it into an experienced NBA veteran.

The kind who has already established himself in the league and doesn’t need to be brought up to speed. The kind who can help you right away.

Bring a second rookie into the fold and you’re not only not going to be able to help him as much, you’re going to take away from the help you can give Valanciunas.

Obviously if the Raptors do luck out and somehow land that No. 1 pick that brings with it Anthony Davis, all bets are off.

Otherwise this just might be the path the Raptors choose to take.

So save yourself the angst about whether they lose their final three games.

For all the difference it’s going to make, it’s just not worth it.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca

SUNDAY TIPOFF

Toronto Raptors (22-41) at Detroit Pistons (23-40)

6 p.m. EDT, The Palace of Auburn Hills

Marquee Matchup

Amir Johnson vs. Greg Monroe

Johnson has been playing the power forward spot recently but with the quicker Monroe at centre, expect Dwane Casey to shift Johnson to centre and bring James Johnson in at power forward. Monroe leads the Pistons averaging 15.6 points and 9.5 rebounds a game. Johnson, who began his career in Detroit always plays well at the Palace. He’s averaging 7.9 points and 7 rebounds a game as a starter.

Scouting Report

The Pistons have been very inconsistent of late winning the first three games of the month, losing the next three and then spotting wins in between two-game losing streaks. The team is coming off back-to-back losses to Atlanta and Minnesota at the Palace. The Pistons share the offence throughout the lineup with Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince and Monroe all averaging between 12.8 and 15.6 points a night.

Did You Know?

The Raptors are a game behind Detroit in the East ... Their only other visit to the Palace this year was a forgettable one with the Raps down 37-14 after just a quarter and never in the game after that ... Since Feb. 3, the Pistons have a 19-20 record compared to a 4-20 record in the first 24 games of the season.


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