5 must-see trades to shake up the 2023 NBA Draft

Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson, NBA Draft (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson, NBA Draft (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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Pascal Siakam (Photo by Andrew Lahodynskyj/Getty Images)
Pascal Siakam (Photo by Andrew Lahodynskyj/Getty Images) /

The Raptors might be able to ask for more here. Pascal Siakam was a borderline All-NBA player last season, but Toronto’s lack of team success tanked his chances of award consideration. Siakam has, however, won the NBA championship with Toronto and appeared in two All-Star games.

Houston has done a very poor job of hiding its blatant desire to add star power this summer — primarily James Harden. The best way to ensure Harden’s return would be to find him a legitimate co-star to really move the needle toward contention. Siakam can fill gaps defensively, space the floor at the 4 or 5 spot, and pressure the rim as a slasher. His development as a passer and face-up scorer last season was transformative — he averaged 24.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 5.8 assists as the legitimate focal point of Toronto’s offense.

In return, Toronto gets to fast track its long-coming rebuild with the No. 4 pick and dynamic point guard Amen Thompson. At 6-foot-7, Thompson is the kind of moldable athletic marvel the Raptors love in a prospect. He’s a genius passer and arguably the best perimeter athlete in the NBA. If the jumper ever comes around, there’s not too much holding Thompson back from multiple All-Star berths.

Toronto also gets last year’s No. 3 pick, Jabari Smith Jr. His rookie season didn’t exactly go to plan, but Smith is a rangy 6-foot-10 defender and a viable 3-point shooter with untapped athletic upside. Throw in another future first, and it’s hard to imagine Toronto writing off the idea of this trade. The Raptors also still own the No. 13 pick, giving them the opportunity to add another lottery talent to complement Thompson. Maybe a shooter like Gradey Dick or Jordan Hawkins, or another mega-athlete wing like Bilal Coulibaly.