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Raptors draft pick protections, explained: Tracking Toronto’s odds of keeping first-round asset owed to Spurs | Sporting News Canada

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Raptors fans have good reason to keep a close eye on Toronto’s record until the last day of the season.

It’s not unusual for teams outside of the playoff race to shift their attention to the NBA Draft in the final weeks of the regular season, but Toronto has a little more riding on how the ping-pong balls bounce this year than other teams.

Due to a trade made with the Spurs, the Raptors don’t have full control of their 2024 first-round pick. How their remaining games go will either strengthen or weaken their odds of keeping that pick.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s a chance the Raptors won’t control their first-round pick in 2025 and 2026, either.

Here’s everything you need to know about Toronto’s first-round pick in 2024.

MOCK DRAFT: Predicting where March Madness stars will go

Raptors draft pick protections, explained

In 2023, the Raptors acquired Jakob Poeltl in a midseason trade with the Spurs in exchange for Khem Birch, a 2024 first-round pick and two second-round picks.

The 2024 first-round pick the Raptors included in the deal is top-six protected, meaning they will keep their pick if it ends up being No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 in the 2024 NBA Draft Lottery, which will be held May 12, 2024. If the pick falls outside of the top six, the selection will be made by the Spurs.

If the Raptors keep their pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, their first-round pick becomes top-six protected in 2025. It has the same protections in 2026 if the pick is not traded in 2024 or 2025. If a first-round pick hasn’t been conveyed to the Spurs by 2026, San Antonio will receive a 2026 and 2027 second-round pick from Toronto.

MORE: Why Zach Edey is now viewed as a potential first-round pick

Raptors 2024 NBA Draft pick odds

At 23-49, the Raptors currently have the sixth-worst record in the NBA. They have one fewer win and one more loss than the Grizzlies, who have the seventh-worst record.

Toronto split the season series with Memphis, 1-1. The two teams won’t face each other again.

Worst record in NBA (2023-24 season)
Rank Team Record
1. Pistons 12-60
2. Wizards 14-58
3. Spurs 16-56
4. Hornets 17-54
5. Trail Blazers 19-53
6. Raptors 23-49
7. Grizzlies 24-49
8. Nets 27-45
9. Jazz 29-43

If the Raptors finish the season in their current position, they will have a 45.8 percent chance of keeping their pick. The most likely outcome is it will fall outside of the top six, in which case it would be traded to the Spurs.

Raptors draft targets

Ahead of March Madness, our Steph Noh detailed 11 draft targets for the Raptors.

While it remains to be seen where Toronto’s pick lands, the franchise will still have a first-round pick courtesy of the Pacers, who traded a top-four protected pick to the Raptors in the Pascal Siakam deal.

Here’s who Noh mentioned as first-round targets for the Raptors:

  • Cody Williams, Colorado
  • Rob Dillingham, Kentucky
  • Reed Sheppard, Kentucky
  • Dalton Knecht, Tennessee
  • Johnny Furphy, Kansas
  • Kevin McCullar Jr., Kansas
  • Yves Missi, Baylor

For more on draft prospects, click here for Kyle Irving’s latest mock draft and here for his latest big board.

Raptors remaining schedule

The Raptors have 10 games remaining in the 2023-24 season — five at home and five on the road.

Toronto has the ninth-hardest remaining schedule in the NBA, according to Tankathon, which calculates the combined winning percentage of a team’s remaining opponents. Memphis, ranked 22nd, has a much easier remaining schedule based on the combined winning percentage of its opponents.

Here are the remaining games on the Raptors’ schedule:

Date Opponent Time (ET)
March 27 vs. Knicks 7:30 p.m.
March 31 vs. 76ers 6 p.m.
April 2 vs. Lakers 7 p.m.
April 3 at Timberwolves 8 p.m.
April 5 at Bucks 8 p.m.
April 7 vs. Wizards 6 p.m.
April 9 vs. Pacers 7 p.m.
April 10 at Nets 7:30 p.m.
April 12 at Heat 8 p.m.
April 14 at Heat 1 p.m.
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