Raptors GM Bobby Webster discusses how many players Toronto has worked out, what they're aiming to achieve with the 33rd pick and rumours surrounding OG Anunoby.
- Right. No, one minute late.
BOBBY WEBSTER: This is not, like, having the number four pick. Is it?
- Do you got any kind of warmer feelings about this draft now that you've been through the whole process than maybe you did earlier in the year? [INAUDIBLE].
BOBBY WEBSTER: No, you know, I think back to some of the prior drafts, obviously, Pascal at 27. I think OG was 23, Dalan 20. So I think we all-- even Malachi had 29. So I think we've always operated in this space. I think last year was probably the year that was a bit different being in the top five, so I think we're kind of attuned to-- there's going to be guys in this range. It's, obviously, our job to find them, but I think operating here felt a bit more comfortable than, obviously, having the pick last year.
- Obviously, a lot can and will change on Thursday night. But the way things have kind of shaken out so far, how confident are you that some of those guys that you may have been looking at and considering act one could be available to you at 33?
BOBBY WEBSTER: Yeah, I think, historically, when we follow the draft, it doesn't-- obviously, you don't need to have 33 players. It's incredibly unlikely that all 33 go in your first 33 picks. So I think we felt like between 20 and 25 guys, usually, you'll have one of those guys there at 33. So that's kind of the task now is, can we get to that group that we feel really comfortable with? And we're fairly confident we'll be there at 33.
- How many guys have got in for workouts [INAUDIBLE]?
BOBBY WEBSTER: I think we ended up having 12, so 12 six man workouts. What is that? 72, yeah.
- Do you still have more later in the week?
BOBBY WEBSTER: No, we're done. So usually, we end them last Friday. If we've had some ones this week, historically, if a player's dropping, or an agent wants to send them. But we've always kept this week off just for our meetings and all of our deliberations.
- Did anyone get invited back for a second one?
BOBBY WEBSTER: That's a good question. I don't think so. I think, listen, we try to plan these workouts. They come the night before. We try to plan it, so we get everything in. I think maybe, if a player had a particularly poor workout or something, we'd bring them back, or if we felt like we didn't have enough information. But I don't think we had anybody back this year.
- [INAUDIBLE], you're picking a little lower than you have been.
BOBBY WEBSTER: Mhm.
- Does that-- and you've always been best available, most talent. Does position play in a little more [INAUDIBLE] further down [INAUDIBLE]?
BOBBY WEBSTER: It's probably the same answer every year. No, I think it was always going to be best available. I think maybe more as type of player as opposed to position versus you kind of know what we're doing here, so versatile, defensive. They can make a shot great, but, like, looking at those type of players typically.
- Obviously, you guys have confidence in what you guys are trying to say [INAUDIBLE], but does the playoffs give you any added belief with the way things shook out with the Warriors and Celtics?
BOBBY WEBSTER: I don't know. I mean, if you have Steph Curry, you know, like there's no there's no profile for these guys, you know?
- But even with the Celtics, like a bunch of just athletic guys that can switch.
BOBBY WEBSTER: I think, for sure, yeah, you saw it, right? They switch everything. I just don't think it's as new as maybe discussed. I think that's-- you know, if you think back to those Golden State teams that won it, I mean, KD, Draymond, Iguodala, like they had that style, right? So that style has been effective for a while, but I also think Golden State breaks it. Because they have Steph, too, so he's not that. But he's just an all time great scorer, shooter, leader, all that stuff.
- [INAUDIBLE] a little bit busier than maybe you were thinking? [INAUDIBLE]?
BOBBY WEBSTER: For us?
BOBBY WEBSTER: Well, you can look at it two ways, which is we have a couple of free agents. We have our mid-level. So maybe in that sense, it's just adding to the group. But yeah, obviously, if you want to start to have trade discussions, and it's different. But there's kind of two different paths here that you can go.
- When you've been talking to these kids, have you been [INAUDIBLE] vaccination status [INAUDIBLE], policy, and [INAUDIBLE]. Has it cost you a chance to look at somebody you wanted to look at maybe?
BOBBY WEBSTER: Vaccination hasn't. I think we've had the typical-- if you remember back to some of the Buffalo workouts, so you still have some of the issues with the student visas. But vaccination has not been an issue, I think. Maybe, if someone were to slide that we didn't have in, but for sure, that'd be a top question.
- When it comes to just the amount of work that goes into one pick, does that workload ever sort of overwhelm you or sort of how do you manage just the fact that you're spending months, and months, and months if you get one guy at the end of it?
BOBBY WEBSTER: That was a good question. There's probably some debates whether it's too much, but I do think it's the one-- or it is one area of roster building, where the potential is unlimited. So I think that's why so much time is spent on the draft.
I think, typically, in free agency, you're seeing a player, so you have some sense of who he is. With trades, there's usually a body of work, and I think the draft is that great unknown. And I think that's why people spend so much time. Because if you can get a really good player in the second round that becomes an All-Star, the value there is, basically, immeasurable.
- What are the dinners like that you have with the kids? Like how important are they to getting insight into what kind of humans they are, and how does that factor into any [INAUDIBLE]?
BOBBY WEBSTER: I'll say, when you have dinner, Doug, you get a lot out of them, right?
BOBBY WEBSTER: You know, I'm being honest. So you get to meet the kids, and you get a sense of how they interact with you, with the staff. You have different people have dinners. It's not always the same people that are going to dinner, so you want to get that full exposure or full download of who these kids are.
So when they come in here, they meet our medical staff. Not just in the context of physical, but interacting with them. Obviously, we run them through a kind of series of tests, mentally, as well. So you kind are looking for that full picture. But yeah, having dinner with somebody, I think, socially is definitely revealing.
- You, obviously, had 25 guys. You might want them to do group work. How much other due diligence is there, like their with background and background checks? Even though they're college coaches, or AU coaches, or friends, or enemies. How much [INAUDIBLE]?
BOBBY WEBSTER: Their enemies, yeah.
BOBBY WEBSTER: No, it is. You want to have a-- you want to paint a full picture of the kids. So I think, thinking back to Scottie, we started him at 16, right? So you kind of take them from, like, the first kind of realistic point to step back and go talk to people in their high school, go talk to coaches, go talk to players they played against. So that amount of time takes a long time to do that, so you want to probably do that for 10 to 12. You can't do it for all 60.
But yeah, so you dig as deep as you can and maybe questionable decisions from the outside. So you want to ask them. We do have our 30 minutes in Chicago, where that's your chance to ask. If there's anything controversial, or something that came up publicly, or something that you found out about, you want to ask him that question then.
- [INAUDIBLE] Bobby, have you had a chance to-- did you try-- or have you tried [INAUDIBLE]?
BOBBY WEBSTER: You can't get any of the top guys. I think we probably have guys ranked higher than other teams, so you can get those guys in. But the joke is-- I think Dan told me. He said, talk to the agents. They have 45 guys that say they're going in the top 33%, so they won't work out for us. Well, something's got to give.
- Bobby, out of those 20 to 25 guys that you have on your radar, like how many did you think would actually make an impact on this team?
BOBBY WEBSTER: I think you think all of them. Historically, I think, about 20 of the 60 in the draft become real players, so that's kind of where that number comes from.
- What's your numbers on the second round guys, [INAUDIBLE]?
BOBBY WEBSTER: Oh, I don't know. I think someone told, in our range, three out of 10 make it.
- When you're looking at a player, are you sort of looking at the best player available and the best player available sort of fits what the Raptors are looking for? Like if there's a guy who maybe doesn't play defense, but is a great shooter and is really, really good, but--
BOBBY WEBSTER: I think, generally, it's best player available. There's probably, like, one or two things that are like, OK, it'd be really hard for us to take that style of player. So generally, best available. Yeah, there are some bumpers at the very wide end. OK, we're just not going to do that.
- Bobby, [INAUDIBLE] talked to you since [INAUDIBLE]. But is there anything to that, anything to the vague notion that he's somehow dissatisfied with his role? [INAUDIBLE]?
BOBBY WEBSTER: Obviously, I have great communication with OG. I think he's even up here now, so I'm not-- for one, we, obviously, don't-- it doesn't make sense to comment on all the trade speculation, right? I think, if we talked about every call we got or player that was discussed, we'd be here for hours. So I don't think it's all that noteworthy.
- Last call, thank you.
BOBBY WEBSTER: All good.
BOBBY WEBSTER: Thanks, everyone.