The Toronto Raptors are in the market for more shooting and depth in the backcourt as they try to get back to the postseason. Masai Ujiri has been given a golden opportunity to accomplish that task in the 2023 NBA Draft, as he is in possession of what will likely be the No. 13 overall pick.
The Raptors have been linked to many of this draft’s top guards. Kentucky’s Cason Wallace plays like a bigger Fred VanVleet at his best, Baylor’s Keyonte George is an offensive sparkplug with potential, and Arkansas’ Nick Smith is a bundle of raw scoring potential.
However, in a draft that will likely see many of the top backcourt players fly off the board, there is no guarantee they will all be there. In such a scenario, the Raptors might need to target the best shooter with the highest offensive ceiling that is still available and call it a day.
FanSpo’s new mock draft simulator spit out a scenario in which the Raptors stay at 13, yet Wallace, George, and Smith are all off the board. If this comes to fruition, FanSpo seems to believe that Michigan’s Jett Howard will be the pick for the shooting-needy Raptors.
Will the Toronto Raptors draft Jett Howard?
A 6-8 freshman who is the son of Michigan coach Juwan Howard, Jett averaged 14.2 points per game while making 37% of his 3-pointers. Between him and standout point guard Kobe Bufkin, Ann Arbor has quite a few prospects worth developing for the Raptors.
Howard has the ability to get to the rack when needed, though his best offensive trait might be how he can score without dominating the ball. The fact that his dad is a longtime NBA standout and successful coach might help him make the adjustment to life at the professional level.
While he has tons of defensive potential, most of his upside in that area is projection rather than tangible production, which might turn Ujiri away. Toronto must be willing to swallow some serious growing pains with Howard as they try to add more offense to their bench.
While he doesn’t possess Wallace’s on-ball defense, George’s shot creation, or Smith’s scoring, he does have a very worthwhile package of skills that could help him turn into a solid role player for the next half-decade. Howard, at his best, could be an easy 20-points-per-game scorer, which is a good use of a pick in this range.