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“Isiah fell in love with him,” said Glen Grunwald, who was Thomas’s top assistant with the Raptors when they drafted McGrady ninth in 1997, and he was the general manager for the Raptors when McGrady left for Orlando in 2000. “Isiah had this theory at the time that maybe it could be a bit like where we’re at right now, what the Raptors are doing (with Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam), he had the ‘Raptor four’ — a long, 6-8, 6-9 forward who had multiple skills, could switch out, guard all sorts of positions, play all over the floor, be a playmaker, be a shot-maker. They weren’t easy to find. “Isiah was just excited by his potential. It turned out that he was right.”

Paolo Banchero a lock for No. 1 pick?

Two weeks after announcing his presence to the college basketball world with an impressive performance against Kentucky at Madison Square Garden, Duke freshman Paolo Banchero helped solidify his status as the presumed No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft with another breakout performance against No. 1-ranked Gonzaga in Las Vegas. “He will be No. 1 [because of] his size, strength and ability to score at all 3 levels,” one of the 60 NBA GMs and scouts said after Banchero’s performance Friday night in No. 5 Duke’s 84-81 win over the Bulldogs.
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