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Raptors GM Masai Ujiri Was Desperately Trying To Trade Up To Get Giannis Antetokounmpo In The 2013 NBA Draft: “We Don’t Think There Are Many Kids In 2015 That Will Be At His Level After 2 Years.”

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri Was Desperately Trying To Trade Up To Get Giannis Antetokounmpo In The 2013 NBA Draft: “We Don’t Think There Are Many Kids From 2015 That Will Be At His Level In 2 Years.”

The 2013 NBA Draft class is considered one of the weakest in NBA history. But there has been one standout player from the draft class, who, despite being very young, has already established himself as one of the greatest players in NBA history. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 15th pick of the draft and has gone on to become arguably the greatest player in the history of the franchise alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. But if one NBA GM would have gotten his way, Giannis would have been playing for a different team.

The Toronto Raptors did not have a draft pick in the 2013 NBA Draft but had their eyes on a few players, especially Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Footage from the Raptors' boardroom on Draft Night 2013 shows Masai Ujiri trying to figure out a way to use their 2015 picks to secure either OKC's 12th or Minnesota's 14th pick so that he could pick Giannis Antetokounmpo. Ujiri said there is no player from the 2015 class that could be as good as Giannis would be.

"The kid we want to pick, we feel like -- we don't think there are many kids in 2015 that will be at his level after two years."

As we now know, Ujiri was not able to secure a draft pick. OKC used their pick to select Steven Adams, whereas the Timberwolves acquired Shabazz Muhammad with the 14th pick. The Bucks only got Giannis at 15, so had Ujiri gotten the 12th or 14th pick, one has to believe that Giannis would have played for the Raptors.

While Ujiri was a big admirer of the Greek Freak, he must have felt a deal of satisfaction when his Raptors defeated Antetokounmpo (after winning his first MVP) and the Bucks en route to the NBA championship in 2019. But it is fascinating to think about what the Raptors could have achieved with Giannis on their team.