Gonzaga star freshman guard Jalen Suggs is projected as a consensus top-five pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, with many expecting the Toronto Raptors to target the top prospect at No. 4.
With franchise point guard Kyle Lowry entering unrestricted free agency, the Raptors could potentially have a void to fill, where Suggs would be expected to come in and carry out the culture that the six-time All-Star established in Toronto.
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During his pre-draft media availability on Tuesday, when Suggs was asked about Lowry's presence on the floor, the 20-year-old preached on his demeanour and winning ways.
"(Lowry) does any and everything that's needed for a win," Suggs told the media. "Just the way he competes, his defence, his effort on the floor is a skill. I think that's the mindset that he carries, that I (also) carry."
He also took the time to speak on the franchise's well-renowned player development program and the prospects they've built into established NBA players.
"The player development program is off the charts," Suggs stated. "Those guys develop and they get good, you know, (Pascal) Siakam, (Chris) Boucher, Fred VanVleet. They have a lot of guys who came up from there, so, the player development is great over there, the way they handle it."
MORE: Evan Mobley speaks highly of Raptors' player development reputation
Suggs declined to comment on if he has worked out or had conversations with the Raptors (or any other team), something that has been a common theme from the top prospects over the last few days of media availability.
But the potentially smooth fit between the Gonzaga star floor general and the Raptors is undeniable, as Suggs will bring hard work and a winning culture of his own to wherever he lands on draft night.
"As far as where I go, it's not something I'm really too worried about. I know I'll thrive in whatever system, whatever city I end up in," Suggs said confidently. "I will say that, the teams that do pass up on me, it'll come back. It'll be to their detriment. You look at my track record, what I've done, where I've been, it's always win. At the highest level."
And there's no denying that - Suggs won three-straight basketball state championships in high school, and it could have been four-straight if his senior season wasn't cut short by the coronavirus pandemic. To add to that, he also tacked on a football state championship as the star quarterback. When he went on to Gonzaga, he led the Bulldogs to a conference championship and an undefeated season (31-0) before suffering a loss in the National Championship game.
He continued his quote by saying he could never be angry at the teams that don't select him, but, "I don't forget those kinds of things. That's just the kind of competitor I am."
That same competitor is the type of player that cannot wait to face the best of the best in the NBA. When asked about which player he's most excited about going up against, Suggs had a top-tier guard in mind.
"One person that I'm really excited to compete against, and I hope he brings it that night, too, is Damian Lillard.
"I love watching him," Suggs continued. "I love his game and the demeanour he plays with. So, get me on the court with him, because he's someone I looked up to coming up in this process. I'm looking forward to sharing the court and being competitive with him. It'll be fun."
Suggs won't have to wait much longer to find out where he lands, with the 2021 NBA Draft set for Thursday, July 29th.
Regardless of the franchise that selects him, Suggs is coming into the league with an attitude and swagger of a player that has a bright future ahead of him.
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