The Toronto Raptors only have one pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, so Masai Ujiri needs to make sure that he comes away from this predraft process with a bona fide quality prospect. The Big Ten has typically been a bottomless reservoir of talent that Toronto could take from.
The Raptors could go in one of several different directions. With a lack of guard depth behind two excellent starters and some iffy centers, Toronto should focus most of their energy on getting a stronger bench by way of beefing up those two areas.
Of course, knowing Masai Ujiri’s fascination with traits and raw athleticism, Toronto could take a raw collection of tools and stash him away in the G League. That approach has proven pretty successful in recent years, given Toronto’s propensity to develop unproven talents into stars.
While the ACC has been a lovely well to plunder over the last few years for the Raptors, they might need to focus on the midwest and draft a Big Ten prospect. The Raptors should have the wherewithal to identify these three players as future stars that would be quality long-term pieces of the team.
3 Big Ten NBA Draft prospects the Toronto Raptors must watch.
3. Trayce Jackson-Davis, C, Indiana
The NBA values athleticism so much that players with years of production despite average explosion like Jackson-Davis are often overlooked. His numbers in college are so impressive that the 6-9 big man should be able to wiggle into an NBA rotation as a backup big man.
A three-year starter at Indiana, Jackson-Davis averaged 18.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game last season. A quality rebounder and interior scorer with some exciting potential as a defender, Jackson-Davis will have no trouble crashing the glass and finishing in the paint at the professional level.
Trayce Jackson-Davis could fit in with the Toronto Raptors.
Jackson-Davis is a three-year player, which could give him less developmental upside than most second-rounders. A complete non-shooter who didn’t make a 3-pointer all year, TJD is not the most versatile prospect. For a team that preaches versatility everywhere, that’s not insignificant.
Jackson-Davis should be able to challenge Khem Birch for minutes immediately, but the Raptors could send him down to 905 with the goal of making him a better shooter. If he gets that down, TJD will have a long career in this league as a high-energy bench big with some defensive edge to him.