The Toronto Raptors are still in the process of sizing up the three most likely candidates they could use the No. 4 selection in the 2021 NBA Draft on, and G League guard Jalen Green is looking like an increasingly attractive option if the Raptors want to take someone with the highest offensive ceiling.
USC’s Evan Mobley is the best center in the draft, and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs is a pro-ready point guard but Green’s package of tools is startling. A 6-5 guard with ball-handling, clutch shooting, an improving 3-point shot, and the ability to slice right through the heart of the defense, Green can hit the ground running right away for Nick Nurse.
Unfortunately, he could just as easily hit the ground running for Stephen Silas, as his Houston Rockets hold the No. 2 pick in this draft. While the idea of a frontcourt of the future led by Mobley and Christian Wood appeals to some, the latest buzz from The Athletic’s Kelly Iko makes it sound like Green could be wearing Rockets colors next season.
In The Athletic (subscription required), team personnel from around the league have warmed to the idea of Green and fellow tall guard Kevin Porter Jr. forming a deadly backcourt tandem in Houston for years to come. The Raptors may need to say goodbye to their plans of adding Green to the fold.
Will the Toronto Raptors be able to draft Jalen Green?
The Rockets will need to figure out a way to unload John Wall’s supermax contract, no easy feat for an already cash-strapped Tilman Fertitta, but with buyout talks still possessing some fraction of momentum, it’s not impossible to assume Wall has played his final game in Houston.
The Raptors could’ve leaned on the idea of Mobley coming off the board here, as Houston creating a frontcourt of the Trojan stud and Christian Wood could help Green slide to No. 4, but Wood handled himself exceptionally at center before the Kelly Olynyk trade, and he could do so again next year.
Toronto could end up with Mobley if this happens, assuming that Jarrett Allen ends up staying with the Cleveland Cavaliers and they draft a guard with the No. 3 pick. Conversely, if the Cavs take Mobley, Suggs falls to them, so it isn’t the end of the world if Green doesn’t make it.
However, if the Raptors are dead-on set on selecting Green this year, they may need to alter their plans, perhaps by trading up. If these rumors are to be believed, Toronto may watch an elite draft target and backcourt fixture slip away.