#6: Toronto's top-six protected 2024 first-round pick
Several months after the Jakob Poeltl trade, it looks like the Spurs got the better end of the dealSan Antonio traded their starting center, who was on an expiring contract, for a first-round pick that is top-six protected in 2024 and 2025, as well as two second-round picks, including the 44th pick in this year's draft. Considering the Raptors failed to make the playoffs and appear ready to rebuild, it's looking like an incredibly foolish deal on their part.
After all, to minimize the risk of them losing their pick, they would have to finish with one of the four worst records in the NBA in each of the next two years. It's harder than it looks. The Spurs finished tied with the second-worst record in the league this season; imagine another season like that. San Antonio was only able to be that bad by trading their best player, Dejounte Murray, as well as Poeltl, but bottoming out could look different for the Raptors than it did for the Spurs.
They may trade Pascal Siakam and sign and trade Fred Van Vleet while keeping OG Anunoby and Scottie Barnes, re-signing Poeltl, and using their 13th pick in this year's draft. In that scenario, the Raptors probably wouldn't be bad enough to ensure that they'd keep that pick next season, and even less likely the season after that, if it doesn't convey.
Simply put, the odds seem fairly good that the Spurs will acquire a lottery pick via Toronto in one of the next two drafts. And with San Antonio facing an uphill battle to make the play-in tournament next season, they may have not only their own lottery pick but Toronto's too. If that were the case, then they could combine both selections to trade up in next year's draft, making that pick especially valuable.