Keys for Raptors as NBA Draft Lottery Nears: What to Watch For, Odds, and More

The Toronto Raptors need to avoid seeing the San Antonio Spurs logo early when the NBA reveals its draft order during Saturday's draft lottery
May 16, 2023; Chicago, IL, USA; NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum draws the San Antonio Spurs
May 16, 2023; Chicago, IL, USA; NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum draws the San Antonio Spurs / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
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The Toronto Raptors just don’t want to see a San Antonio Spurs placard early.

If the first eight teams revealed during Saturday's NBA draft lottery don't include the Spurs, Toronto will retain its top-six protected first-round pick this year and potentially have a shot to move up in the draft.

When is the NBA draft lottery?

The lottery will begin at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday heading into tipoff of Game 4 of the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers series.

Keys to Know For Toronto

  • Toronto has a 45.8% chance to keep its first-round pick this year. The pick was traded to San Antonio for Jakob Poeltl at the 2023 NBA trade deadline.
  • Toronto has a 37.2% chance to land a top-four pick and an 8.6% chance to stay at No. 6. The Raptors cannot land the No. 5 pick.
  • Toronto has a 9% chance to land the No. 1 selection. If the Raptors do keep their pick, the most likely outcome is it becomes the No. 4 selection.
  • There’s a 29.8% chance the pick ends up at No. 7 and is conveyed to San Antonio. That’s the most likely outcome of any of the potential landing spots.
  • Toronto’s pick can only fall as far as No. 10 if four teams behind the Raptors jump into the top four in the draft.

What to Watch For

The draft order is decided by a lottery that will select which of the 14 teams will earn top four selections. Once the top-four picks are decided, the remaining teams will be slotted in reverse order of their record this past season.

For Toronto, that means the hope is none of the teams who finished with a better record than the Raptors jump into the top four. If one of the eight teams behind the Raptors does clinch a top-four selection, Toronto’s chances of keeping its pick will be greatly diminished. For example, Toronto cannot land the No. 6 pick if one of the teams behind the Raptors moves up in the draft lottery.

The key, therefore, will be watching to ensure the order of picks 14 through seven remains as expected. If the order of the teams revealed does change, the chances are the Raptors will be without their first-round pick.

Aaron Rose


Aaron Rose is a Toronto-based reporter covering the Toronto Raptors since 2020.