Colangelo's no-news conference

Raptors president and GM Bryan Colangelo speaks to the media at Air Canada Centre yesterday about...

Raptors president and GM Bryan Colangelo speaks to the media at Air Canada Centre yesterday about what the club plans to do at the NBA Draft. What that is, who really knows? (Stan Behal/QMI Agency)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:44 AM ET

Bryan Colangelo wasn’t giving anything away.

Chances are he didn’t have anything necessarily to give away.

Colangelo addressed the Toronto media a little more than 48 hours from the start of the NBA draft.

In truth, and this is not a criticism but the reality is he revealed next to nothing.

Anyone who says they are any clearer on who the Raps are picking based on what Colangelo said for a little over 20 minutes on Thursday either fancies his own interpretive skills a little too much or doesn’t mind lying to himself.

The bottom line is the Raptors aren’t quite sure what they are going to do with the pick just yet and that is not to suggest the Raptors have been sitting around idly twittering their thumbs waiting for draft day. It’s just a product of the uncertainty that comes with a draft where seven teams ahead of you — six if you take New Orleans out of the mix because the whole world knows they’re picking Anthony Davis — will at least in some way determine what you can get out of the draft.

When the Raptors GM talks about an abundance of options coming into the draft, he’s not “playing the game” or being elusive to maintain an advantage. There really are that many unknowns and uncertainties at this point for him to declare Player A as the guy they will take.

Colangelo did say that should they keep the pick, they have three names they are considering. But even holding onto the pick isn’t guaranteed at this point.

He and the Raptors really do have any which number of ways to go with the eighth overall pick in the draft and some of them, perhaps even most of them, aren’t in their own control.

Colangelo cited three teams ahead of him in the draft — Charlotte at No. 2, Sacramento at No. 5 and Portland at No. 6 that have been reportedly open to dealing their pick. While some of those reports are likely hooey — really, what information can anyone rely on this close to a professional draft — he believes at least some of what he’s hearing to be true.

And if so it will impact what the Raptors do at eight.

Colangelo said even the Raptors have put out some feelers to see whether it was possible or plausible to trade up in the draft, but don’t hold your breath on that one. Before his 20-minute no-news conference was up, he was already downplaying that possibility.

What Colangelo does know is the Raptors are in position to improve no matter what happens ahead of them in the first seven picks.

“We are looking to improve the basketball team and add talent,” Colangelo said. “Everything we have done to date over the last two years has kind of been with this in mind — having the flexibility to make decision on draft night. Having the ability to make a decision to acquire a player right now if it was the right piece or the right player.”

And if it means trading the pick, that’s an option too.

“Obviously there has been some value, some interest in the eighth pick,” Colangelo said. “That would possibly have the pick in play and we have to weigh what pieces would be coming, the impact salary wise and how it affects pending free agency. We have certain parameters we need to stay within if we are to accomplish some of the things we hope to accomplish so it’s not a matter of just answering the question vaguely. There are ... so many balls up in the air that so many different scenarios could play out that at this stage it’s premature to give any kind of indication.”

One point Colangelo did stress was that the rebuilding part of the post-Chris Bosh era is over for him and it has now progressed to a new level.

“It was rebuilding at the beginning,” he said. “Now it’s building. I would like to use the word accelerated now because we would really like to push forward to get to another level. Part of that can be accomplished with the draft. Anyone selected at eight would be unlikely to have a huge or immediate impact on the team. But we would like to accelerate that process and that comes with either a trade or a free agency play or two at some point.”

Reading between the lines, one could convince oneself that Colangelo’s amped up version of the current plan he’s following leaves no room for a second rookie needing minutes in Dwane Casey’s lineup. Youth, particularly youth that is learning on the job, is not exactly built for acceleration.

But as Colangelo aptly pointed out at the end of his 20-minute spiel, anyone trying to read anything into the information coming from any team at his point in the draft process is probably playing a fool’s game.

Better to just wait until Thursday and see what transpires.

HIM? OR MAYBE HIM?

  • The word certainty and the Raptors draft pick at No. 8 on Thursday seem to be two mutually exclusive terms. Bryan Colangelo said as much on Tuesday and the mock draft experts — these two anyway — appear to agree. Here’s a look at how the ESPN and Draft Express mocks have progressed with regards to the Raptors pick:
  • MOCKDATEPROJECTED PICK
  • Draft Express 1May 12John Henson
  • ESPN 1May 12Terrence Jones
  • Draft Express 2May 24Perry Jones
  • ESPN 2May 24Dion Waiters
  • ESPN 3June 6Dion Waiters
  • ESPN 4June 12Dion Waiters
  • ESPN 5June 18Damian Lillard
  • Draft Express 3June 21Harrison Barnes
  • ESPN 6June 24Damian Lillard
  • Draft Express 4June 26Austin Rivers

THREE TO GET READY

Colangelo said on Tuesday that he and his staff have it down to three names assuming they hold onto the pick at No. 8 and make the selection. Only Colangelo and his staff know who those three are so we’ll throw a few more at you as possibles that could be donning a Raptors jersey on draft night.

Damian Lillard

Point guard

Weber State

Junior

6-foot-3, 195 pounds

The Skinny: Small school may send up flags for some but not the Raptors. Bryan Colangelo points to Golden State’s Steph Curry who came out of a small school and has turned out just fine in the NBA. Good chance Portland grabs him at six before the Raptors can get a shot at him.

Dion Waiters

Shooting guard

Syracuse

Sophomore

6-foot-4, 221 pounds

The Skinny: Being called a Dwyane-Wade type shooting guard. Shut down his workouts at the Chicago pre-draft camp when he supposedly got a promise from a team drafting in the lottery. Colangelo denied the Raptors were that team.

Austin Rivers

Shooting guard

Duke

Freshman

6-foot-5, 203 pounds

The Skinny: Rivers maturity is off the charts. Has a great cross-over dribble that raised eyebrows at his Raptors workout. Some call him a little selfish with the shots he takes. Rivers considers that confidence. Is the son of Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.

Perry Jones III

Power forward

Baylor

Sophomore

6-foot-11, 234 pounds

The Skinny: Jones has a lot of people pulling for him given the hardships he overcame to become an elite NBA prospect. But there remain questions about Jones motor and whether he has the drive to play professionally. Jones though has a unique combination of size and speed that can’t be taught. He’s a little too passive for some tastes and that could see his draft position drop.

John Henson

Power Forward

North Carolina

Junior

6-foot-10, 216 pounds

The Skinny: Henson was part of that all-star forward workout the Raps hosted with Jared Sullinger, PJ III and Terrence Jones. Henson’s freakish lenghth, his outstanding coordination and overall athleticism make him stand out. He’s still considered raw, both in body which has yet to fill out and game, but someone in that workout “muddied the waters” with regards to their first round pick and Henson just might be that guy.

 

 

 


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