The 2021 NBA Draft, which is set for Thursday, July 29, 2021, at 8:00 p.m., is quickly approaching.
While the upcoming draft is imminent, there is much to be determined after the presumptive No. 1 pick in Cade Cunningham goes off the board. Among the prospects that could hear their name called in the top five is USC center Evan Mobley, who NBA.com's Kyle Irving has slated to go third overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
MOCK DRAFT 2.0: Who has improved their stock?
Given the uncertainty surrounding how the upcoming draft could go, the Toronto Raptors, owners of the No. 4 overall pick, are also in play to select Mobley, who would be the perfect answer to the team's frontcourt issues.
During a pre-draft media session, Mobley declined to disclose which teams he has worked out for and had conversations with but did field questions about a number of teams in the top five, including the Raptors. In response to a question from Sportsnet's Steven Loung, Mobley spoke highly of the Raptors' reputation of developing talent as well as the city which they call home.
"They're a good player development organization," the 20-year-old began. "When players get there, they get better and it's a great city and all that. I feel like, overall, there are a lot of different teams that have that aspect and Toronto is definitely a good team that does a lot of player development."
For the Raptors, the proof is in the results, as OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet are each recent examples of the franchise's top-notch player development staff.
While Siakam's development was recognized by the league when he was named the 2019 Most Improved Player, VanVleet last year signed the richest contract from an undrafted player in NBA history, while Anunoby has developed into one of the league's best two-way talents and Boucher has gone from undrafted to averaging 13.6 points per game in his fourth NBA season.
Mobley, who measures at 7-feet and 215 pounds, is considered the best big man in the draft class due to his defensive versatility and fluid offensive game. During his lone season at USC, Mobley was a consensus All-American that took home Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Player of the Year honours with averages of 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game.
As he's just scratching the surface of his potential, it makes sense that Mobley's name will be among the first called in this year's draft.
Should he land in a situation like that of Toronto, it won't be long until he reaches that next level of excellence.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.