Raptors draft: Bryce McGowens seems ideal for Masai Ujiri

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - JANUARY 14: Bryce McGowens #5 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - JANUARY 14: Bryce McGowens #5 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors appear to like what Fred Hoiberg is building at Nebraska, as Masai Ujiri used one of his 2021 NBA Draft picks on Rexdale native and lanky point guard extraordinaire Dalano Banton. Ujiri could go back to Lincoln and select Bryce McGowens in 2022.

McGowens has that slender frame that Ujiri loves, as he weighs 181 points despite being 6-7 with a wingspan just under 6-10. A top recruit, McGowens was allowed to dominate the ball and show off his fantastic scoring ability at the collegiate ranks this season.

McGowens is expected to be picked at some point near the end of the first round or the beginning of the second round. McGowens has been mocked to the Raptors in the past, and Ujiri might do well to take those prognosticators up on that prediction, considering what a seamless addition he would be.

The Cornhuskers were a bad team last year, and Hoiberg often just rolled the ball out to McGowens and asked him to make magic happen. Even with a less than ideal setup, McGowens showed enough to warrant a roll of the dice from several playoff-bound teams.

The Toronto Raptors will likely take a hard look at Bryce McGowens.

McGowens averaged 16.8 points and 5.2 rebounds during his freshman season. While McGowens had some occasional reps as a primary ball-handler, he profiles as a gangly wing slasher who could serve as instant offense off of the bench for a title contender.

McGowens’ shot mechanics continue to improve, as does his skyscraping verticality. Though his defense is a bit raw at this point, he’s shown solid effort and the ability to defend both guard positions thanks to impressive short-area quickness.

McGowens is going to be a raw slasher when he comes into the league, but a team like the Raptors should have no problem fixing the jump shot and making him more complete.

On top of the fact he will need to add some weight, McGowens made just 40% of his shots overall and 27% of his 3-pointers despite taking just under five attempts per game from deep. Even though he can bring the ball up, McGowens has developed into a bit of a ball-stopper with the Cornhuskers.

At the end of the day, McGowens is a premium athlete who can fill multiple roles at the professional level and was a consistent offensive threat despite a lack of support. If McGowens comes to a Raptors team where he doesn’t have to carry the offense, the bad shot selection could evaporate.

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