Toronto Raptors draft: HBCU product Tristan Jarrett could be a steal for Raps

Dec 8, 2020; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Jackson State Tigers guard Tristan Jarrett (4) Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 8, 2020; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Jackson State Tigers guard Tristan Jarrett (4) Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Raptors draft position might not be finalized just yet given the playoff chase, but Masai Ujiri and the front office have quite an interesting offseason ahead of them. In addition to a first-round pick, Ujiri must wisely use the two second-round picks they acquired at the trade deadline. Is former Jackson State star Tristan Jarrett an option for them?

Jarrett might end up being the best HBCU player in this class, as the talented 6-4 guard led the Tigers in scoring with 21.1 points per game on 42% from the floor while making 36% of his 3-point attempts. While he isn’t on the national draft radar, the Kennesaw State transfer could change that in a few months.

Toronto could be in the mood for some scoring off of the bench, as the likely departure of Kyle Lowry and impending Fred VanVleet/Gary Trent Jr. backcourt would leave them thin off of the bench. Jarrett announced that he might be the guy needed to fill that void.

Jarrett, fresh off winning SWAC Player of the Year, is signing with an agent and declaring for the 2021 NBA Draft. If the Raptors play their cards right in the second round, Jarrett might be wearing red and black at this time next season.

Toronto Raptors draft: Tristan Jarrett strengths

Jarrett’s game is all about scoring the ball, as he has proven that he can do so at all three levels. Quick for his size and able to penetrate with ease, Jarrett has a solid mid-range game and the ability to create his own shot. With his 3-point shot improving with each passing season, he appears ready for the challenges the modern NBA will hurl at him.

Ujiri’s draft history shows that he values experienced college players that can play multiple positions, as the OG Anunoby and Malachi Flynn selections tell you. Jarrett handles the ball well enough to potentially eat up some point guard minutes in a pinch, and that paired with his scoring touch could make him a solid lottery ticket to pick up late in the draft,

Toronto Raptors draft: Tristan Jarrett weaknesses

Jackson shows good effort on defense, but he isn’t the best on-ball defender at this stage of his career. With a wiry frame that is under 200 pounds, he might struggle to make the instant transition from a mid-major to the NBA. While his offense will obviously be his calling card, he will need to make some adjustments.

Jarrett played in a Tigers offense that allowed him to dominate the ball and gave him control over his shot selection. While he won’t come into the NBA with the pedigree that allows him to start dominating the ball early on, his 3-point shooting isn’t lethal enough to where he can carve out a role as a spot-up shooter.

How would Tristan Jarrett fit on the Toronto Raptors?

While he ultimately ruined his Toronto tenure because of his off-field transgressions, Terence Davis proved that raw offensive talent can be harnessed by this coaching staff. Jarrett might need some time with Raptors 905 in the G League, but there is plenty of offensive potential in him to warrant taking a shot.

At the very least, Jarrett starts out his pro career as a 905 star that works his way onto the end of the Toronto bench. In the best-case scenario, he ends up becoming more efficient as a shooter and selfless as a passer, becoming a valuable bench asset in Toronto.

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