The Toronto Raptors finished with the seventh-worst record in the 2020-21 NBA regular season and were one of the big winners of the draft lottery as they jumped up to No. 4. With most NBA experts, including this one, expecting the first three picks of the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday to be Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green and Evan Mobley, the drama starts with the Raptors at four. Ex-Gonzaga star Jalen Suggs is the -225 favorite (had been -150 on Tuesday) at William Hill Sportsbook to be the fourth pick.
Keep in mind that the prop is simply which player is drafted fourth overall, not by which team. Thus, if Toronto traded out of that pick it wouldn't matter in terms of winning on a Suggs prop. Most mock drafts out there do have Suggs to Toronto as he would be a potentially perfect replacement in the backcourt for franchise icon Kyle Lowry.
The six-time All-Star is a free agent and with the Raptors somewhat entering a rebuild off last year's 27-45 record – first time missing the playoffs since 2013 -- it doesn't make a lot of sense for Toronto to re-sign the 35-year-old. The team could sign-and-trade him, however, with the 76ers a logical fit. Lowry is from Philadelphia, the Sixers need a point guard and they nearly dealt for him at this year's NBA Trade Deadline.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Suggs was spectacular in his one season at Gonzaga in averaging 14.4 points (50.3 percent shooting), 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists in being named second-team All-American, first-team All-WCC and the conference's Newcomer of the Year.
Of course, Suggs hit one of the most memorable shots in NCAA Tournament history, a near-halfcourt buzzer-beater to beat UCLA in overtime in the Final Four to keep the Zags unbeaten. He was also easily Gonzaga's best player in the national title upset loss to Baylor with 22 points.
The CBS Sports Big Board ranks Suggs as the No. 4 overall prospect in the class as does ESPN. He can play both the point and shooting guard but does need to improve his three-point shooting. Suggs has been compared to guys like Jamal Murray, Deron Williams, Brandon Roy and Chauncey Billups.
The highest-drafted player ever from Gonzaga was Adam Morrison at No. 3 overall in 2006 by Charlotte, and he was a mega-bust. Toronto has not drafted anyone from the school.
William Hill favorites to be No. 4 overall pick in 2021 NBA Draft
- Jalen Suggs -225
- Scottie Barnes +300
- Evan Mobley +400
- Jonathan Kuminga +600
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