DeRozan will be the Raptors' representative at the NBA Draft Lottery in Secaucus, New Jersey on Tuesday -- the team's consolation for finishing at 40-42 and in the Eastern Conference's ninth spot. After losing a coin flip tiebreaker with Memphis due to their equal records, the Raptors are all but assured of the 13th overall selection at the NBA draft on June 24.
Toronto still has an opportunity to move into the top three, but it's going to take a huge stroke of lotto luck to get there.
Only one team has ever vaulted from nearly as far to land the first overall pick -- the 1993 Magic, who were the best non-playoff team that season and still wound up with the first overall pick (for a second-straight season no less). But the Magic faced better odds that year (1 in 66) than the Raptors do on Tuesday (6 in 1000) after the NBA rejigged the format to give the worst teams better odds at a high pick.
Lady luck has smiled on the Raptors twice however, as they moved up one spot to second in 1996 to select Marcus Camby and went from a projected fifth pick to taking Andrea Bargnani first overall a decade later.
Still, a jump as high as we might be hoping for is quadruple-double rare and, based on the Raptors' lotto history, DeRozan might prove lucky if they don't drop a spot.
Not counting their first draft year of 1995 (when they once again lost a coin flip to the Grizzlies -- then of Vancouver -- for the sixth and seventh picks) the Raptors have actually dropped from their likely draft position four times in nine lottery trips. Two of those draws directly resulted in the Raptors landing Vince Carter and Chris Bosh, so maybe a tumble to 14 might be just what the doctor ordered.
If DeMar merely proves "luck neutral" and the Raptors wind up 13th, they're clearly in crapshoot territory. Tyler Hansbrough was the last lucky no. 13 selected by the Pacers last season and, time will tell if he'll be remembered among steals at that spot like Richard Jefferson and Corey Maggette. Or go the way of Marcus Haislip and Courtney Alexander -- all due respect.
It’s clearly not a slot devoid of talent. Look no further than last year’s draft, where names like Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, Eric Maynor, Darren Collison, Omri Casspi, Rodrigue Beaubois, Taj Gibson, Chase Budinger, Jonas Jerebko and Dejuan Blair were all selected after Hansbrough.
So luck may determine where that pick falls, but the real challenge will be using it effectively. The Raptors face an uncertain future with Chris Bosh’s pending free agency and could use the pick to continue to build a young asset base or parlay it into more immediate help to entice the captain to re-sign with the only professional club he’s known.
But on Tuesday, it’s all eyes on DeRozan, whose final contribution to the Raptors as a rookie could prove to be a big one if he brings enough luck to bounce the ping pong balls the Raptors’ way.
It all shakes out prior to Game 2 of the Magic-Celtics series on theScore.