Raptors prepare for NBA draft featuring no real sure thing - Metro US

Raptors prepare for NBA draft featuring no real sure thing

The Toronto Raptors have spent the past several weeks auditioning players, painstakingly taking notes, making phone calls, watching and rewatching video.

But no matter how prepared they are, come Thursday and the crapshoot that is the NBA draft, anything can happen.

The Raptors have the No. 9 pick in this year’s draft at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Who they end up with is far from a given considering the only somewhat sure thing is Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin going No. 1 to the Los Angeles Clippers. Who goes where from there on down to No. 9 is anybody’s guess.

“It’s definitely not clear water, let’s just say that,” Jim Kelly, the Raptors’ senior director of player personnel, said in a phone interview yesterday.

Making matters more muddled, the Raptors have several key free agents that may or may not be back next season, and so the makeup of the team remains somewhat in limbo.

“You try to project where they fit on our team and we happen to have a number of free agents, and we’re not really sure if we’re going to be able to re-sign those people,” Kelly said.

Shawn Marion, Anthony Parker and Jake Voskuhl are unrestricted free agents, while Carlos Delfino is a restricted free agent. Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Joey Graham will be unrestricted free agents if the team doesn’t tender a qualifying offer by June 30.

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