Small forward Rudy Gay may well be the best fit. I love Tyrus Thomas's game. Andrea Bargnani is apparently the fellow Bryan Colangelo loves above everyone, and I'm sure you can find someone on a bar stool willing to argue another case. It sure beats waiting on Babcock at No. 8, doesn't it?
Looking down the order immediately behind the Raptors, the question may be whether there is someone who wants to trade up -- and would be willing to give up a player to get there. I kind of doubt it, at least at this point. For one thing, there's the money factor. Why trade up in a draft where there's not a huge qualitative difference between the top picks, a group that numbers about a half-dozen?
No. 1, in this draft, may well be no different than No. 3 or even No. 4:
Portland, which had the league’s worst record at 21-61, was big loser in the lottery. Despite a 25 per cent chance of winning the ping-pong ball drawing, the Trail Blazers slipped all the way to fourth.
Trail Blazers President Steve Patterson believes his team will still get a good player.
“You may find a player with as big an impact at No. 4 or even No. 6 as you may at No. 1,” Patterson said.
Part of that is Patterson saving face, but he's also reflecting the general consensus. Here's the thing about it, though, that makes it valuable -- the Raptors, for the first draft ever, are dictating the terms. Even if they can't deal it, they're going to get their pick of players of some value. Given the list below, chances are he's going to be a good, maybe even great player -- if they keep the pick (and if he doesn't turn into Michael Olowakandi, that is).
Meantime, the honeymoon continues for Colangelo, who did his best last week to dampen expectations and now faces them run amok. It's his turn to make something of it. Played right, this is the biggest turn in the Raptors' fortunes since they came into the league 11 years ago.
NO. 1 PICKS OVERALL, 1985-2005
1985 Patrick Ewing, Knicks
1986 Brad Daugherty, Cavs
1987 David Robinson, Spurs
1988 Danny (D) Manning, Clippers
1989 Pervis Ellison, Kings
1990 Derrick Coleman, New Jersey
1991 Larry Johnson, Charlotte
1992 Shaquille O'Neal, Orlando
1993 Chris Webber, Orlando
1994 Glen Robinson, Bucks
1995 Joe Smith, Warriors
1996 Allan Iverson, 76ers
1997 Tim Duncan, Spurs
1998 Michael Olowakandi, Clippers
1999 Elton Brand, Bulls
2000 Kenyon Martin, Nets
2001 Kwame Brown, Wizards
2002 Yao Ming, Rockets
2003 LeBron James, Cavs
2004 Dwight Howard, Magic
2005 Andrew Bogut, Bucks
UPDATE: CollegeHoops.net has a mock draft up (first of many, for sure): 1 Toronto Tyrus Thomas; 2 Chicago, Andrea Bargnani; 3 Charlotte, LaMarcus Aldridge; 4 Portland, Rudy Gay.