While the Toronto Raptors did not move up in the 2023 NBA Draft order during the lottery revealing on Tuesday night, the Portland Trail Blazers managed to get extremely lucky when they moved up to the No. 3 overall spot. That doesn’t mean they will keep the pick, however.
With Damian Lillard still without an NBA Finals appearance, Portland has hinted that they will do everything to maximize their chances of competing for a title with No. 0 on the roster. The front office has basically come out and said the No. 3 pick could be for sale if they find an attractive offer.
The Raptors have been mentioned as one team that could be eyeing the No. 3 pick, even if they are refusing to trade Pascal Siakam. The presence of LaMelo Ball likely means that the Charlotte Hornets will take Alabama wing Brandon Miller at No. 2 overall. Scoot Henderson, who would go No. 1 overall in most drafts, could be available at No. 3 overall.
The Raptors could swing a trade that helps them land the No. 3 overall pick and another dynamic young player, all without parting ways with Siakam. Such a move would require some very dexterous negotiations from Masai Ujiri, but it’s still worth pursuing.
The Toronto Raptors could trade for top prospect Scoot Henderson
Trail Blazers Get
SF OG Anunoby
PF Chris Boucher
2023 First-Round pick (No. 13)
SG Anfernee Simons
SG Keon Johnson
2023 First-Round Pick (No. 3)
2026 First-Round Pick
The Raptors would not only get multiple unprotected firsts for Anunoby, which they likely are seeking, but they also get a potential long-term starter in Simons and the pick that would become Henderson. A Scoot/Simons/Scottie Barnes/Pascal Siakam/Jakob Poeltl starting five could really do some damage.
Portland, meanwhile, gets an All-Defensive player with an expert 3-point shot that will get tons of open looks playing next to Lillard. Swapping the underperforming Keon Johnson for Chris Boucher will beef up the bench. Meanwhile, the Raptors will get an additional first-round pick down the line.
Henderson profiles as a player who can be a lead guard for a very long time in this league, as his combination of athleticism, explosion, and hustle make him an ideal candidate to succeed Fred VanVleet. Toronto just needs to work on getting his jumper in order.
The Raptors may not be able to pay all of their best players, and Henderson gives them a legit star they can build around for the next decade.