1. Jalen Duren, C, Memphis
Duren decided to reclassify to the 2021 recruiting class, meaning that he went from being the top center in 2022 to competing with Chet Holmgren for that honor. While Holmgren’s shooting and ball-handling are impressive, it is not outrageous to say that Duren might actually be the better center in certain schemes.
Duren is listed at 6-10 and 235 pounds, but his wingspan stretches to 7-5. Constantly double-teamed, Duren dominated at the prestigious Montverde Academy, who has helped mold NBA stars like D’Angelo Russell, Ben Simmons, Cade Cunningham, and the No. 4 overall pick in Barnes.
Jalen Duren would change the complexion of the Raptors.
Think of Duran as a fallback option. Let’s say the same bad luck that hurt Toronto last year returns in 2021-22, and they end up picking high in the lottery. Duran could be an ideal selection, as his wingspan, power, and offensive skills would give Toronto a center that they could lean on for a decade.
Duren will be competing with players like Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Jaden Hardy, and Patrick Baldwin Jr. for the right to be picked No. 1 overall, and he might have a legitimate claim to that throne. However, if he falls anywhere near Toronto’s draft slot, they need to select him.